Missing child found dead near Lake Tyler - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

UPDATE: Missing child found dead near Lake Tyler identified

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) – A tragic start to the summer vacation for a Flint family, where 5-year-old Joseph Cooks drowned out on Lake Tyler.

Several Smith County agencies rushed to the scene around 4:00 Friday afternoon. An hour later, the boy's body was pulled from the water, yards from a boat ramp.

Marcus Cooks says he was enjoying a day at the lake with his wife and their four boys. They'd only been out on the water a couple of hours when 5-year-old Joseph went missing.

"Mom was trying to fish and they wanted to get into deeper water so she got out on the end of that pier. When she moved down, all the kids moved down with her," says Chris Green, State Game Warden.

Green says the mom left the pier, but two of her boys were still in the water, including Joseph.

"We're hurting so bad inside," says Lisa Cooks, Joseph's mother.

Cooks says she thought her son was behind her on the pier, but he wasn't. Then she says she thought he was sleeping in the family's SUV, but after checking, he wasn't there. She then called 911.

"These kids were unattended and they didn't have floatation, so we're looking into holding someone accountable," says Green.

Constable Dustin Rust was one of the first on the scene, helping authorities sort through three different stories.

They searched nearby woods, thinking the boy had wondered there. Then they set up road blocks, believing he may have gotten into a car with a stranger.

The mother told officers the last place she had seen her son was in the water, so authorities focused on the lake. An hour later, Rust says he jumped into the water. A swimmer found Joseph's body below the water's surface, near the pier.

"We're going to pay even more attention. I love him more than ever, and I'm never going to forget about him," says Lisa Cooks.

CPS workers were called to the scene, along with a Smith County crime scene unit. At this time, no criminal charges have been filed and the drowning remains under investigation.

Authorities say that Joseph, or any of his brothers, didn't know how to swim.

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