75-year-old Chong Va Lee of Catawba County, who had been reported missing on Saturday (August 23), was found, deceased, at about 8 a.m. today (August 25).
Employees at Catawba County Riverbend Park saw the victim’s canoe floating several hundred yards below Oxford Dam Bridge near Riverbend Park Saturday morning. The victim’s 1992 Toyota truck was located at the Oxford Dam on the Alexander County side near Wayside Church Road and Highway 16 South.
A full-scale rescue & search was launched on land and water. Search crews suspended operations at about three o’clock Sunday morning and resumed at about 8 a.m. Personnel from the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office, Alexander County Rescue, the Lovelady Fire Department, Troutman Fire & Rescue, Catawba County Emergency Management, the Wittenburg Fire Department, the Taylorsville Fire Department, the Ellendale Fire Department, Sherrill’s Ford Fire & Rescue and the Iredell Rescue Squad assisted in the search. A N.C. State Highway Patrol Helicopter was called in to assist with a low-flying grid search of the water.
Family members found the victim’s shoes at approximately seven o’clock Sunday evening, near the area where the victim’s body was located in the water. A family member spotted Mr. Lee’s body floating in the water at approximately 7:30 this morning and called 9-1-1. Personnel with the Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management, Alexander Rescue and the Wittenburg Fire Department recovered the victim’s body.
Mr. Lee’s body was transported to the North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem for an autopsy.