A search by state police dive teams for the body of a Fort Sumner man believed to have drowned Sunday at Sumner Lake was called off around noon Tuesday, according to Sgt. Andy Tingwall of the New Mexico State Police.
The search was turned over to state park officials, Tingwall said.
Josh Kenyon, 27, was last seen around 6 p.m. Sunday while jetskiing in the northwest part of the lake. Witnesses told officials he was trying to get back on the jet ski when he went under the water.
“The state police try the best they can but if they can’t find them in a reasonable amount of time, then they’ll let the body rise,” Tingwall said.
“It’s not the way we’d like it to turn out but sometimes Mother Nature can do what we can’t.”
Sumner Lake, which has a surface area of about 4,500 acres, is located approximately 16 miles northwest of Fort Sumner.
An experienced swimmer, Kenyon had worn a life vest as he jet skied all day, however he removed it before the last ride, witnesses said.
Fort Sumner mayor and family friend Juan Chavez said Tuesday afternoon that Kenyon’s family was working to gather boats so they could take to the water themselves in search of the missing man.
They have accepted he is deceased but desperately want to recover his body, he said.
“It’s a recovery mission. They understand that he’s drowned and they just need to get him out of the water,” Chavez said.
Varying witness accounts of where Kenyon was located when he went under water have left a large area of the lake in question, he said, making it difficult to find the body.
In the 25 years he has been in Fort Sumner, Chavez said he can’t remember it taking so long to recover a body from the lake.
Family members have been out at the lake throughout the search, Chavez said.
Local businesses and community members, he said, have rallied to provide support, food refreshments during the search.