Missing Woodbine man found dead in submerged vehicle

Christina Bryant and other family members spent the past several days and nights searching for her father 74-year-old Ronnie Bryant who went missing Thursday evening. His body was recovered Monday night. | Photo Contributed

WHITLEY COUNTY — The search for a Woodbine man ended Monday night as rescue crews recovered his body from his submerged vehicle.

Ronnie Bryant, 74, had gone missing Thursday night as flooding devastated the area. Bryant's body was recovered about 10:35 p.m. Monday after days of family, friends and local agencies searching for him.

Whitley County Emergency Management Director Danny Moses and search crews spent Friday morning with Woodbine Rescue on a boat out on KY 779 near KY 11 looking for Bryant.

Monday evening, crews headed out again to that location with sonar. Rescue crews had been waiting on water levels to drop, and in the in between had spent some time searching embankments.

The search crew arrived about 6 p.m. Monday and located his vehicle about 6:15 p.m., Moses said.

Christina Bryant, of Cincinnati, the daughter of Ronnie Bryant, said she and other family members had been in Whitley County all weekend searching for her father.

Kentucky State Police, Post 10 Harlan received a call at 12:47 a.m. Friday about Bryant. According to KSP, he left his residence on Rapier Hollow in Woodbine at 8:45 p.m. Thursday. He was a night security guard and never made it to the mining site off of KY 92 East. Bryant was supposed to be at work at 10 p.m. Thursday.

Christina told the Times-Tribune that her father was born in Somerset, moved to Ohio for a while and has lived in Whitley County for over 30 years. Bryant was a talker, according to Christina, one who never met a stranger.

"He liked to stop and talk to people," said Christina. "He liked to try new foods and get food for work."

With that in mind, Christina said she went to Walmart and Kroger looking for him and searching for leads. Nothing turned up.

"We've been out everyday on every route," said Christina, admitting she knew Monday afternoon that it was likely a recovery effort at that point. Christina knew her father wouldn't go without communicating with their family for days like that.

Christina said she appreciates the community members who contacted her and helped in the search efforts.

"The people down here have been amazing," she said.

Woodbine and Laurel County Rescue Squads, KSP Posts 9 and 11, Whitley County Sheriff's Office, Jerry Rains with Kentucky Emergency Management, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and Whitley County Coroner Andy Croley were all on scene to assist with the recovery efforts.

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