St. Mary

Dec 28, 2010 11:18 PM by Maddie Garrett

Father of Missing Man Speaks Out About Search

It's been over a week, and still no sign of a missing 22-year-old Georgia man, who apparently fell off the Calumet River bridge in Saint Mary Parish. KATC's Maddie Garrett talked with the man's father, and now he's speaking out about the search for his son.

Mike Mills has been searching the Calumet River all day, every day for the past week, trying to find the body of his son, Lewis Mills.

"It's rough sitting out here at this river knowing I can't do nothing, but I mean I just hope and pray maybe they'll find him," said Mike.

Lewis went missing last Monday night. Witnesses say he was walking along the rail of the bridge when he slipped and fell into the river. But his family says Lewis could not swim and it seemed strange that he would take such a risk. Lewis' cell phone is also still on and the voice mail has changed from saying "Lewis Mills" to "Leaping Louie."

But still Mike and his family keep searching, they've even had help from people in the Franklin area.

"The volunteers around the area, like the K9 unit and some people across the river have been loaning me their boat where I can go up and down the river and look for myself," said Mike.

But Mills, a longtime firefighter, thinks the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office could be doing more, such as getting divers to look for his son.

"I mean, they're not doing everything I think they should be," said Mike.

"Our hearts go out to the family, because we understand their frustrations," said Maj. Mark Hebert with the Sheriff's Office.

Hebert said they are revamping their search efforts such as using a sonar in the area. But he says the Calumet Cut is full of challenges, with underwater ravines reaching 80 feet deep, strong currents and mountains of debris on the river's floor.

"We have a lot of things that we want to exhaust before we try and send someone down in that area because of the safety factor involved," explained Hebert.

Still, the volunteer K9 unit has given the family some hope, Mike just hopes it's enough to find his son.

"All I want is my son to come home, that's all I want. If I can get me a body, if I can take my son back to Georgia, so I can have some kind of closure," said Mike.



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