Autopsy results awaited in Watauga Lake drowning

John Thompson • May 28, 2014 at 11:37 AM

ELIZABETHTON — The Carter County Sheriff’s Department is still awaiting the results of the autopsy on Cody Allen Roberts, 21, but Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said the death appears to have been an accident.

Roberts’ body was found beneath 20 feet of water underneath a dock at 211 Springer Drive, Butler, on Sunday afternoon. His family and friends had reported him missing several hours earlier.

Mathes said Carter County Coroner Benny Colbaugh said he hoped to get the preliminary results on Roberts today. The sheriff said he saw the body when it was recovered on Sunday and he saw no obvious marks or bruises.

The sheriff’s department incident report, written by Deputy Paul Morrell, gives additional information on Roberts’ last hours. Morrell said Roberts arrived with his friends at the lakeside residence around 7 p.m. Saturday. His mother, Amy West, arrived at 10:30 p.m. and went to her bedroom at 12:30 a.m. She said her son came in to tell her good night.

The other witnesses told deputies that they last saw Roberts around midnight.

West told Morrell that everyone woke up around 8:30 a.m. Sunday and noticed Roberts missing. They waited about an hour for him to return, then began searching the house and the adjoining boat dock. They discovered his keys were still in his vehicle and other personal belongings were inside the house. His prescription eyeglasses were found on the dock, approximately a foot from the water. The searchers tried calling Roberts on his cell phone, but the phone had apparently been switched off. The searchers then called 911.

Another search of the house was made. During that time, Roberts’ chewing tobacco, chapstick and lighter were found at the top of a metal staircase 15 feet above the location where Roberts’ eyeglasses were found.

Divers recovered the body at 5:37 p.m.

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