Dreaded day written on 2006-08-10 @ 8:41 a.m.
Today is going to be a very hard day for my family. We will be attending the funeral of my 43 yr. old aunt. This all still seems so unreal. How could someone so scared of the water, and who could not swim, drown? And her boyfriend too, how did he drown too? These are questions that we will never know, and I think that is making this harder for us all. That along with knowing that it has to be closed casket and we will not get to see her one last time.
Please be praying for my family, we could use all the prayers you can offer!
IUKA, Miss. (AP) - Authorities in Tishomingo County are awaiting the results of autopsies on two Tennessee residents who apparently drowned during a weekend outing on Pickwick Lake.
The bodies of 43-year-old Peggie Stone Sanford, of Bartlett, Tennessee, and 58-year-old Albert Wesley McAlexander of Germantown, Tennessee, were recovered yesterday.
Pickwick Lake is at the border of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.
County Coroner Mack Wileman says Sanford's body was found floating on the Mississippi side of the lake near a waterfall area about 9:00am Monday.
He said divers recovered McAlexander's body about five hours later in the same area.
Wileman said it appeared the two had gone out on the lake in a pontoon boat Sunday and pulled into the cove about three miles north of J.P. Coleman State Park.
He said their craft was found about Sunday evening with the motor idling and a dog still aboard. Autopsies will be performed to determine the cause of death.
By Clay Baileyt
A Bartlett woman apparently drowned last weekend in a boating accident at Pickwick Lake, along with a Germantown man whose family is the longtime owner of an area Honda dealership.
The victims were identified as Peggie Stone Sanford, 43, of Bartlett, and Albert Wesley McAlexander III, 58, of Germantown.
Their bodies were recovered Monday on the Mississippi side of the lake, said Mack Wilemon, Tishomingo County coroner.
Autopsies were performed on both victims, and the case was still under investigation Tuesday.
Lt. Royce Howie with the law enforcement division of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks, said Tuesday night that they believe both victims drowned, but they still were looking into the circumstances.
Howie said Sanford's family members told investigators the woman couldn't swim, leading authorities to wonder if she somehow ended up in the water and McAlexander went in after her.
He said the scene on the boat -- where McAlexander's Labrador retriever, Mocha, was still aboard, the motor was idling and other belongings were in their proper place -- indicates both went in the water quickly.
The two were dating and had spent recent weekends at Pickwick, members of the McAlexander family said.
McAlexander was owner of Al's Cycle Shop on Summer Avenue, a business started by his father in 1958. It is one of the oldest Honda motorcycle dealerships in the country.
Al's Cycle Shop was closed Tuesday and will be closed Friday for McAlexander's 10 a.m. service at Memphis Funeral Home. Visitation for McAlexander will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Memphis Funeral Home.
Wes McAlexander, Al's son, said the business will remain open and continue as a family-owned operation.
Arrangements for Sanford were incomplete Tuesday evening.
Wilemon said authorities became suspicious when McAlexander's unoccupied pontoon boat was found idling on the lake Sunday with the dog still on board.
A search of the area began and Sanford's body surfaced near the shore about 9 a.m. Monday. Divers recovered McAlexander's body in the general area about five hours later.
Authorities indicated there were no initial signs of foul play but were awaiting the autopsy results. The Tennessee Valley Authority police, Tishomingo County Sheriff's Department and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks are involved in the investigation.
The accident occurred in a popular area known as the waterfalls a few miles north of J.P. Coleman State Park.
Howie said while the area is popular, by Sunday evening most of the weekenders have left, making the area much quieter. He said no witnesses have come forward to say they saw the couple or the boat prior to the accident.
"We haven't found a soul who saw those people there," he said. "... I wish somebody had seen them."
PEGGIE ANN STONE SANFORD, 43, of Bartlett, died August 6, 2006. She is survived by two daughters, Ashley Lovette, and Chase Sanford; grandson, Blake Lovette; parents, Eugene and Sybil Stone; two brothers, Danny Stone and Johnny Stone. She was preceded in death by a brother, Steve Stone. Visitation wil be from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, August 9 and service at 2 p.m. Thursday, August 10 at Forest Hill East Funeral Home with burial to follow. Forest Hill Funeral Home East 901-382-1000
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