Body pulled from Big River believed to be missing Granite City man


JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo.– Jefferson County authorities confirm there was a body found in Rockford Beach whom they believe to be a man who went missing Thursday night.  

Rockford Beach was closed this morning as Missouri water patrolmen pulled the body from the water whom they believe to be 25-year-old Michael Lewis.  

A Jefferson County resident said every time they hear of another drowning it brings back memories of the many that have happened in these swift currents over the years.    

Jefferson County authorities called in the patrolmen to assist them with removing a body from Rockford Beach at around 8 o’clock Saturday morning after a fisherman on the river made the phone call.  

Law enforcement blocked off the beach and Candy Downey of Jefferson County, who was going to enjoy lunch on the river, said she knew it was a tragic story she’s heard too many times before.   

“I knew. I didn’t have to think I knew exactly…I said to my mom either they found the guy who drowned a couple of days ago or someone else drowned,” Downey said.  

The spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said Lewis was on the river with at least two other people. He left his group and went with someone else to possibly jump off cliffs upstream, and he never came back.  

His own group left without him, and an acquaintance called two hours to say they hadn’t heard from him.   

“I think it’s a dangerous place to swim. People shouldn’t be allowed to swim there. There are  currents, and once they get stuck in the currents that’s it,” Downey said.  

Now, area first responders are warning people of the dangers of diving into the uncertainties of the swift currents in rivers. Families are now flocking to the riverbanks to escape the heat of the season.   

“Even experienced swimmers can’t survive that current.  There’s no way,” Downey said.  

Authorities said they are now waiting on a medical report expected to come out sometime next week to officially identify the body.  

Meanwhile, those in Jefferson County said there is a reminder of the many who have lost life to the swift currents of this body of water every time another death is reported.    

“Well, it brings back bad memories because there have been quite a few. Even a friend of my daughter’s drowned in this water here. It just brings back memories every time.   

Area fire departments plan to host a news conference Monday to share more information about the rise in water rescue calls they are experiencing this year.   

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