Hamilton High student loses life in drowning accident

Jackson Brodie Umfress

By Luke Brantley
Staff writer

PHIL CAMPBELL — A tragedy occurred on Saturday, June 15, when a 17-year-old from Hamilton drowned at Bates Landing on Bear Creek.
According to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson Brodie Umfress and his friends were swimming around Bates Landing.
Umfress stayed behind while his friends swam to the opposite shore, but when they returned, there was no sign of Umfress.
His friends searched for several minutes but still couldn’t find him, so they called 9-1-1.
Multiple Franklin and Marion county agencies responded to the call that evening, including the Hamilton Police Department, before divers eventually found Umfress’ body in the same area he and his friends were swimming in earlier that day.
At the Hamilton City Council meeting on June 17, mayor pro-tem Wade Williams asked those in attendance, as well as the news media broadcasting on television and in print, to please keep the Umfress family in their thoughts and prayers.
“We’re asking for special blessings to go out to the Umfress family,” Williams said.
“Our hearts go out to the family and to all the youth in Hamilton who are facing the loss of their friend. Please pray for this family and our whole city. And especially the youth who are having to deal with something they are not used to dealing with.
“Again, pray for our kids and our youth and those who lost loved ones as we go throughout the rest of this week.”
A special account has been set up at PeoplesTrust Bank in Hamilton to help pay for funeral expenses. Those interested in making a donation may visit the bank to do so.
“Please keep this sweet family in your prayers,” read the notice about the memorial account.
Umfress’ funeral was held on June 21 at Hamilton Free Will Baptist Church. He was laid to rest at Poplar Log Free Will Baptist Church Cemetery.
A special tribute to Umfress will be published in a future edition of the Journal Record.

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