TWRA: Missing swimmer's injuries indicate he was hit by a boat

LOUDON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency released autopsy results Saturday about the mysterious injuries to a body found in the Tellico Lake Friday morning, according to a spokesman for the agency.

Agents said Michael Carnock's injuries are consistent with him being struck by a boat on the Tellico Lake.

"We just want to know, we just want to know," said Michael Carnock Jr., who is Carnock's oldest son.

Officials said Carnock, 55, of Maryland, was visiting his parents in Tellico Village when he went for a swim about 10 a.m. on the morning of May 15 around Jackson Ferry Island. The search for the long-distance swimmer began about three hours later at 1 p.m.

TWRA is asking anyone who was boating on Tellico Lake the day Carnock went missing to contact its dispatcher at 1-800-831-1174.

"I want you to empathize with the victims family," said Matt Cameron of TWRA. "Imagine if that was one of your loved ones hit undoubtedly by a vessel. You'd want to know who was responsible."

Just after 12:24 p.m. Friday, the family's Twitter account @BringMikeHome said, "It is with a heavy heart that we would like to share Mike’s body was found this morning. Thank you to all the tireless efforts of local agencies and volunteers."


The search efforts covered a large area of water that's as deep as 75 feet in some places. Authorities said Thursday the search turned into more of a recovery mission for the experienced swimmer.

Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider said the body was found with injuries, but it's still unclear what caused the death.

"A lot of things could have happened, there's a lot of variables in this case," Guider said. "You have a man who was a very avid swimmer. There could have been a cardiac event or cramps, just a lot of things. Still not sure and don't want to speculate too far."

Carnock's daughter-in-law, Janie Carnock, said she was confident the body was indeed Michael Carnock, but now heartbreak has set in for the family.

"I think there is an initial sense of relief, we have been looking and looking and haven't had any success so there is relief," Carnock said. "But it very quickly has turn to heart break and the mourning process."

The man's family offered a $5,000 reward for information on the whereabouts of his body or "something of interest" before the announcement that his body had been found.

The Blount County Sheriff's Office's dive team that specializes in under water caves was on hand for the search, as well as a helicopter from the Air National Guard, a cadaver dog, and several other agencies.

Carnock's wife and three sons traveled from Maryland to Tellico Plains Wednesday evening for the search, along with some family friends.

Officials warned that swimmers in the area use caution when entering the water.

"It's good to make sure you probably have somebody with you because once you go too far under, there's no visibility hardly at all, once you go under the surface," Chief Deputy Jimmy Davis said.

Tellico Lake exists as more than 15,000 acres of water surrounded by 357 miles of shoreline. Dispatch said the man went missing swimming in the lake.

The lake is a popular destination for outdoor recreation, with many neighbors owning property on the lake shore.