Brady Brown (L) and Eddie Cobb, Jr. (Source: Columbia Police Department)
Ella Williams (Source: Columbia Police Department)
The gold Dodge Stratus missing for more than 3 weeks is pulled from the Tensas River (Source: Louisiana State Police)
MONROE, LA (WIS/KSLA) - Thebodies of three people reported missing after attending a funeral in Columbia and heading to Shreveport have been found in a river in northeast Louisiana.
Columbia police say the family of 48-year-old Brady Brown, his uncle, 67-year-old Eddie Lee Cobb, Jr., and 51-year-old family friend Ella Williams reported them missing earlier this month. They were in Columbia on Jan. 4 to attend the funeral for Brown's mother.
Police had been looking for their gold 2006 Dodge Stratus. Troopers doing a flyover in the area spotted the bumper on Tuesday in the Tensas River near I-20 in Monroe. A crew went out Wednesday morning and confirmed it was the same vehicle, finding the bodies inside.
The vehicle had gone off the road and as it headed west near mile marker 161 near Madison Parish.
Three bodies were inside, and Louisiana State Police have positively identified them as Brown, Cobb, and Williams. Cobb was at the wheel, wearing his seatbelt. Brown was in the front passenger seat and was not wearing a seatbelt. Investigators aren't sure at this point whether Williams, in the backseat, was wearing a seatbelt.
An autopsy will be performed on Cobb to determine whether a medical condition may have contributed to the crash. State police say the tracks where the vehicle left the interstate run about a quarter of a mile straight down the grassy embankment into the river, showing no sign of swerving or evasive maneuvers. It's possible, they say, that Cobb fell asleep at the wheel.
It's now known how long the car may have been in the water. Part of the investigation will include establishing a timeline.
Police say all three left Columbia on Jan. 7. They were planning on taking Interstate 20 west to Shreveport, so that Brown could be dropped off there to pick up a truck he purchased. The other two were headed to Texas.
Relatives say they never arrived in Shreveport or Texas and hadn't heard from them since. Police say repeated calls made by family members went straight to voice mail.
Police say the last known communication is believed to have been made from a cell phone belonging to one of the three near Birmingham, Alabama on Jan. 7.
Saturday, July 26 2014 2:09 PM EDT2014-07-26 18:09:07 GMT
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