Search Crews Spend Hours On Water, Away From Their Families

STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- For nearly one month, crews have been searching the depths of Belews Lake for two men who went on the water for a day of fishing, and never returned.

On Tuesday, the body of James "Pat" Bohenstiel was found. The Stokes County Sheriff's Office says the cause of death was drowning. His body was found in the area of the lake known as the "hot hole" surrounding the Duke Energy steam station.

READ: Body Found at Belews Lake is James "Pat" Bohenstiel

Pat's body was found by a Rockingham County Sheriff's deputy, but the search has been a multi-agency effort.

Each day, local agencies search the water twice. The take no days-off, no short-cuts, and no excuses.

After finding Pat, the search intensified for his friend, Jacob Line.

READ: Search Efforts Increase For Missing Fisherman

The friends from Kernersville went fishing on Thursday, April 17, just a few days before Easter. After authorities learned they were missing, volunteers from across the Triad and state showed up to help search.

"Spending ten and eleven hours in the water, looking for our son, eating a sandwich or a little water here or there, leaving their family on a special holiday weekend. We didn't know any of them and they just kept saying, 'Don't worry mam, we're going to find him. We're going to find him,'" said Jackie Pegram, Pat's mother.

She added, "Jacob's family and our family will never ever forget all those men and women that came, used their own gas money, to come and try to find our children."

To date, 61 agencies have assisted in finding these men. Stokes County EMS Director, Greg Collins, said "If I started naming agencies, I know I'll forget one."

"To know that we are able to return someone home, you know, that our job is complete," said Chief Rusty Gray, Madison-Rockingham Rescue Squad. "That's been the goal here since hour one."

Chief Gray and his crew of 30 people, were one of the first search teams to respond to this call. Jean Gann leads the Stokes-Rockingham Rescue Team. Her crew has been working alongside Gray's, searching daily to find the missing fishermen.

"When it's somebody that you know is hurting, you want to give them closure and stuff and that's the only way they are going to find it, is we help them," said Gann.

These trained professionals do not get paid, but they say being "thanked" is all the payment they need.

"Thank you is not a whole lot maybe to some people, but to us, it's like a million dollars," said Gann.

Chief Gray said, "That's worth every minute spent here. Every son burn, every missed Easter egg hunt, it's truly worth it."


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment