UPDATE: Craighead Co. Sheriff recovers body of missing farmer

Published: Aug. 5, 2009 at 12:43 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 5, 2009 at 12:35 PM CDT
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By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Todd May went out Tuesday to work in his fields.  When he didn't return home, his family went looking for him.  Hours later they found him.

Friends and family gathered along Moore Road Wednesday waiting for any word about the missing farmer.

"We received a call late into the night that a local farmer had not returned home to the field," said Craighead County Chief Deputy JR Thomas.

"The last any family had contact with him was about 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m.  Tuesday night they started looking for him," said Craighead County Sheriff McCann.

McCann said May was bush hogging the levee on Little Bay Ditch, about two miles off Moore Road.  Around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday morning a member of the family's search party spotted May's tractor in the ditch.

"The person that found him could see the tractor barely by the time we got there the water had risen so high that we couldn't see it," said McCann.

The Sheriff's Department joined the search about a half-hour later.  When they arrived, overnight rains had flooded the ditch.  The tractor was submerged in ten feet of water.

"We had the divers out there.  The current was so strong they couldn't submerge themselves very far," said McCann.

He said the search team believed May would still be in the tractor and they focused on getting to the tractor and getting it out.

"Our biggest concern was that he would not be in the tractor.  There were two windows broken out of it and if he had been out of the tractor and floated down stream we would have been days trying to find him," said McCann.

With help of the county road crew they were able to pull the tractor out, finding May inside.

"We were actually relieved," said McCann.

At this point Sheriff McCann said it looks like may got too close to the embankment and the tractor rolled into the ditch.

The Craighead County Sheriff's Department, dive team, county road crews and other volunteers helped in the search.  It is unknown at this time if an autopsy will be done.

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