Sheriff: Body recovered from Pearl River, likely missing boater

Published 10:05 am Thursday, December 9, 2021

Early Thursday morning, agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) recovered a body from the Pearl River, according to WPSO Chief Criminal Deputy Mike Haley.

Haley said that the body was located near a section of the river known as Red Bluff, which is located at least a mile downriver from the Poole’s Bluff sill.

The body is presumed to be Eric Josh Williams, of Holden, Haley said. Williams is one of two boaters who had been missing since a boating accident on Nov. 29. The body of the other boater, Joe Newby, of Covington, was recovered soon after the accident.

The WPSO first requested assistance after learning that the two men had launched into the Pearl River from Poole’s Bluff around 3 p.m. on Nov. 29. Around 9 p.m. that night, authorities were notified that the boaters had not returned, and neither victim was answering their cell phones.

Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal expressed his appreciation for all who were involved in the search.

“I am so grateful for all who were involved in the search process,” he said. “Our officers, along with LDWF, St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office and representatives of the Cajun Navy, spent many hours on the river as they searched for the body. I express my sincere condolences to the families of the two men and I hope this final recovery brings some solace to them.”