PUTNAM COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Indiana Department of Natural Resources officers identified a kayaker who died in a Putnam County creek as 29-year-old Timothy Wells of Indianapolis Monday.
Officers spent two nights looking for Wells after he went missing Saturday. Detectives said they did not identify any signs of trauma after finding Wells’ body Monday morning. Now they’re waiting on autopsy results.
According to DNR, Wells separated from his friends on Big Walnut Creek and ended up going over a dam. Detectives found his body about 600 yards downstream from the dam.
Zac Clark, who lives along the creek near the dam, said he is family friends with some of the people who were kayaking with Wells.
“I said it wasn’t their fault and just tried to condole them as best as we could,” Clark said. “It’s just a shocking thing. When they go out in that situation, the last thing they’re expecting is a fatality.”
Detectives said heavy rainfall raised water levels about two feet Friday night. A DNR lieutenant tells 24-Hour News 8 that Wells was not wearing a life jacket when the other kayakers last saw him alive. DNR officials described Wells as a “novice kayaker.”
Other people in the group told investigators they’d been drinking alcohol with Wells on Saturday, according to DNR.
“We reiterate all the time: Don’t go down the creek by yourself,” Clark said.
The father of two said he often tells his kids to stay away from the dam after heavy rain.
“If the creek is brown, don’t go near it. Because the current is so strong and so swift that you’re going to get taken down and bad things are gonna happen,” Clark continued.
Clark said he wishes there were signs along the creek warning kayakers about the dam.