CLINTON — An East Feliciana Parish work-release inmate drowned Friday afternoon in a pond at a site where an annual fishing outing is held for children who are patients of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, spokesmen for Sheriff Talmadge Bunch said.
Law enforcement agencies from across the state assist the Dream Day Foundation in staging the “Fishin’ Galore” event each year. The event, which includes many other activities, is scheduled Saturday.
Parish Jail Warden Ray Newman said the inmate, Darion Carter, 21, of West Monroe, was among about 15 inmates at the Clinton facility who volunteered to help set up Saturday’s event at the 3 Bar E Ranch on Beechgrove Road north of Clinton.
Carter and another inmate were using a paddle boat to mark separate areas of the pond for fishing and paddle-boating. After they finished placing flags and a rope across the pond about 1 p.m., the two decided to jump into the water and cool off, Newman said.
Carter surfaced and began calling for help. The other inmate tried to help him but couldn’t keep him afloat, Newman said.
Newman said Carter may have gotten tangled up in the thick weeds in the pond.
Bunch found the victim’s body in water 6 to 7 feet deep, Newman said.
Carter was scheduled to be released from state custody in July, according to his master prison record.
Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Cliff Hurst said other inmates, under the supervision of a jail employee, were helping set up tents, bleachers and other facilities for the event.
“We’ve done this every year for as long as I can remember,” Newman added.
Newman said the sheriff asked State Police to investigate the incident.
The Dream Day Foundation of Baton Rouge raises money for the Memphis, Tenn., research hospital.