Missing Man in Suspected Drowning Identified

A search continues for a man who is suspected to have drowned and is still missing at an area lake. The Geary County Sheriff’s Office identifies the victim as 40-year-old Jesse Paul Sockness from Lawrence.

The agency responded to the Eagle Ridge Campground in Milford State Park Saturday afternoon in reference to a woman who had drifted to shore in a homemade water vessel. The woman stated she and Sockness were walking the shoreline near Curtis Creek when they located a water vessel made from 55 gallon drums and 2×4 lumber. They entered the water in the vessel when they were caught by the wind and were being pulled towards the main body of the lake.

Sockness jumped into the water to swim to the shore to call for help. He was last seen in the water as the woman drifted away.

Boats from the Geary County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit, Wildlife and Parks/Milford State Park, and Wild Life and Parks Law Enforcement Division took to waters. The area where Sockness was last seen was thoroughly searched with side scan and live view sonar east across the lake to the area of Milford State park where the makeshift water vessel was located along with the female and a couple articles of clothing believed to belong to her and Sockness.

The Geary County Sheriff/Junction City Fire Department Dive Team deployed into the area and conducted several large area grid searches. All searches to this point have been met with negative results.

Moving forward the Sheriff’s Office will continue to search the area throughout the coming days by land and by water multiple times each day/night.

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Milford State Park photo