Day 3 of recovery mission for missing boaters leads to investigation into alleged video from incident

CSRA News

UPDATE: Day 4 search for missing boaters and GBI probe into video of incident continue


LINCOLN COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – Day 3 of the search for two men missing on the water in Lincoln County revealed a police investigation after an alleged video surfaced of the incident on the boat.

Investigators continue to search for Eynn Wilson and EJ Kirk. And now, we’re learning more about Kirk’s life from his family. But while law enforcement searches the large body of water, they are also looking into possible videos from that day.

Kirk’s oldest sister remembers the moment her mother shared the news about Sunday’s boating incident at Clarks Hill Lake, near Cherokee Boat Ramp, involving her brother.

“Her oldest and her only son and she just broke down,” La’Kesha Kirk Johnson said of her mother.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said that’s when two men, now identified as 37-year-olds EJ Kirk and Eynn Wilson, went into the water and never came back out. Georgia DNR and Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Fire and Dive Team took boats out using sonar and even drones to rescue and later attempt to recover the men.

Johnson added, “You have hold on to the last bit of hope. That’s what I did. I still do that now, even with the smallest bit of possibility.”

NewsChannel 6 obtained multiple videos from viewers of what appears to be the boat Kirk and Wilson were on Sunday. There were several people with them. At one point, someone allegedly pushes another person into the water. In the midst of this tough time, Kirk’s family was able to watch what has now gone viral on social media.

“I’m a little angry, but I’m trying not to be,” sister LaTricia Kirk said of her brother’s incident.

Based on what she can see, Kirk said her brother was pushed.

“He couldn’t swim and knowing that, more people should have helped him,” she said tearfully. “I feel like if more people would have helped him, my brother would still be here. He wouldn’t be out there in that water. They wouldn’t be finding him if more people would have helped if he had real friends around him, besides Eynn.”

Johnson acknowledged and thanked all of the searchers on the water and the friend who jumped in the lake that day to help.

“I think it’s very honorable that he tried to save my brother,” she said. “I owe a huge debt of gratitude to him and his family.”

The GBI is assisting the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and Georgia DNR in this investigation. They’re looking at several videos alleged to be from the incident.

But the Kirk family wants to share that EJ, a Glenn Hills Spartan who earned his GED and is a father of four girls who works in construction, left them with all smiles.

“My brother dared me to pick up a snapping turtle,” Kirk recalled of her childhood. “I will never forget the snapping turtle bit me on my finger and I had to go to the hospital and he was like crying.”

Kirk said she is just three years younger than her brother, EJ.

Johnson shared more about her brother’s children, two who are 4-years-old and two others who are 13 and 17. The oldest graduates from high school next month.

“He was an outstanding father. He loved all of his girls and just a great person, you know?”

A DNR spokesman told NewsChannel 6 crews will continue to search for Wilson and Kirk’s bodies. He said they will continue with sonar until they feel they have covered the search area. If they are not located at that point, they will continue to do surface searches and shoreline sweeps a couple of time a day for several weeks.

We will keep up with this investigation and bring you the very latest when we get it.

Photojournalist: Gary Hipps

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