Boat flips as cousins fish on freezing pond, Georgia officials say. One body found

A fishing trip between two cousins turned deadly when their boat flipped, Georgia officials said.

Responders received a call Sunday, Feb. 18, about a possible drowning in Ulmer Pond, according to a news conference Feb. 19 by the Valdosta Fire Department. After several hours of searching, a body was found, according to a City of Valdosta news release.

Two cousins in their early 20s were out fishing on the frigid pond when their boat capsized, officials said. The pair were identified as De’markus Mosley and CJ Johnson, WALB reported.

Mosley escaped the pond with hypothermia, and rescuers immediately transported him to South Georgia Medical Center, according to the fire department. He has since been released, officials said.

But Johnson was still missing when rescuers found Mosley, the department said. When officials heard how “severe” the situation was, they deployed drones, helicopters and sonar equipment to thoroughly investigate the area to find Johnson, the department said.

Responders worked into the early morning Monday, when they temporarily paused to wait for more daylight, officials said. They restarted their search at sunrise, authorities said.

Two hours after resuming their search, divers found Johnson’s body, according to officials.

Fishing was a way Mosley and Johnson bonded, Mosley told WALB after the accident. Sometimes, they would go out four to five times a week to “just feel free,” he said.

But the moment when their boat flipped Sunday in Ulmer Pond haunts Mosley, WALB reported.

“You have thoughts ... it just a flashback continually going in my head of you know his voice, his screams, his hand coming out of the water. It’s just those things right there that are continually popping up in my head,” he said.

Mosley did everything in his power to help his cousin, he told WALB.

“As he fought every odd to get me, I try to fight every odd to get him. That’s what really hurts is that I wasn’t able to get him,” he said.

Johnson’s death has left his mother, Lucky Davis, unable to imagine living without him, she wrote in a Feb. 20 Facebook post. After losing her brother in 2022 and her husband in 2023, her son’s death marked a huge loss in her life, she said.

“What do I do now??? .... Idk how to go on without my baby!” she posted.

Johnson’s body was sent to the Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory for further examination, officials said.

Valdosta is about 120 miles northwest of Jacksonville, Florida.

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