LAKE BROWNWOOD - The body of 18-year-old from Abilene was retrieved near the Minton dock at Lake Brownwood about 4 a.m. Wednesday, ending a search of several hours.
Justice of the Peace Bob Wall pronounced Brandon James Albert dead at Lake Brownwood Dam. The death has been ruled accidental, pending the Travis County autopsy report.
According to a report filed by Brown County Deputy Steven Means, Albert and several friends, all from Abilene, had spent the evening before swimming and playing in the water near the dock. About 1:30 a.m., Albert was paddling a canoe about 20 yards from the dock. The friends were throwing fireworks into the water and Albert challenged them to try and hit him with the fireworks.
The witnesses, three of whom were minors, told Means that one of the fireworks landed near Albert and exploded and that the canoe turned over and Albert rolled into the water. The boys swam to the canoe, and when they righted it, Albert was gone. They dived down looking for their friend, but after several minutes decided to call 9-1-1, Means reported.
After making the 9-1-1 call, the witnesses went to George Hollingsworth’s home and sought assistance.
Means said he and Deputy Jed Polnick responded to the dispatch. Lake Patrolman Bob Pacatte and Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden Jared Barker were also contacted and responded, setting up search with a boat. Means reported he contacted Sheriff’s Sgt. Jimmy Simpson and Investigator Scott Bird, and released the investigation to them, but stayed at the scene to assist.
A liquor bottle floating in the water and powder burns found on the roof of the dock where the fireworks had been ignited were photographed as evidence.
Pacatte and Barker located the body approximately 20 yards from the dock and transported it to the boat ramp and Lake Brownwood Dam.