LAKE BROWNWOOD — Searchers recovered the bodies of a 49-year-old West Texas fisherman and his 17-year-old Clovis, N.M., nephew from Lake Brownwood Monday afternoon. The pair had been missing since Saturday, when they launched a bass boat to go fishing.
The bodies of Joe Haseloff of Farwell and his nephew, Tyler Fontenot, were found about 200 yards off Oak Point, across from the boat ramp at Lake Brownwood State Park, Texas Parks and Wildlife Capt. Malcolm Wilkes said.
Searchers in a Parks and Wildlife helicopter saw Fontenot’s body floating on the surface and his body was recovered at 2:25 p.m., Wilkes said. Personnel on one of the five boats involved in the search saw Haseloff’s body, which was recovered at 5:02 p.m., he said.
Neither of the two wore flotation gear, and their bodies were found fairly close together, Wilkes said.
He said officials don’t know how the pair ended up in the water. “Speculation is, one went in the water and one went in after him,” Wilkes said.
He said the two launched the boat Saturday near Ponderosa Point, and family members last heard from the around 4:30 p.m. Haseloff’s wife became concerned and contacted sheriff’s officials later Saturday night, Wilkes said.
Sheriff’s officials notified the Brown County Water Improvement District’s Lake Patrol, which started searching for the boat. Game wardens and volunteers including dive team members joined the search, and divers went into the water Sunday. Searchers found their boat Sunday at Oak Point, where it had beached itself with its engine running in neutral.
Haseloff’s brother, Mark, who lives in the Dallas area, said by cell phone Monday that Joe Haseloff is a firefighter with the Clovis Fire Department. He said Clovis is about eight miles from Farwell, which is near the Texas-New Mexico state line.
Mark Haseloff said his brother owned land in the Brown County area and was familiar with the area. Speaking before the bodies were recovered, he said family members were trying to figure out what had happened. Some family members were already at Lake Brownwood and others were en route Monday, Mark Haseloff said.
“It’s real tough,” Haseloff said, noting that the family’s hopes were dwindling as the search continued. “It’s the unknown, I guess. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. It’s not fun.”
Mark Haseloff said his 49-year-old brother owns land there and is familiar with the area.
The Clovis News Journal reported in its online edition that Fontenot was a Clovis High School senior and member of the golf team, and had frequently visited Lake Brownwood with his uncle.
The high school’s golf coach said Fontenot had obtained a one-day fishing license before leaving Clovis last week.