LOST CREEK, MORGAN COUNTY – A Magoffin County teen died on Saturday after drowning in Paintsville Lake near the Lost Creek boat ramp in Morgan County.
Just before 1 p.m. on June 17, a female caller notified West Liberty Police Department dispatchers about a possible drowning, reporting that a male subject had been attempting to swim “from one side to the other.”
E-911 transcripts obtained by the Licking Valley Courier indicated that in addition to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, who are leading the investigation, Kentucky State Police, Hwy. 172 and West Liberty fire departments, Morgan County Rescue Squad and Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, first responders from Johnson County and dive teams from Wolfe and Carter counties were also dispatched to the scene.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Regional Commander Captain Greg Watts told the Independent two individuals, both minors, were swimming in the Lost Creek boat ramp area when one started struggling and calling for help. Going by eyewitness accounts, Watts said they believe the teenager became tired and fatigued and then went under. His body was recovered in the same area of Paintsville Lake where he was last seen by the Eastern Kentucky Underwater Search and Recovery team and he was pronounced dead at the scene by the Morgan County Corner, with the Rowan County Coroner also responding.
The Lost Creek boat ramp is located off of KY Rt. 172 near the Johnson/Morgan County line.
The victim was identified as Samuel “Sambo” Wagers, 16 years old, of Royalton, who was a junior at the Magoffin County High School.
MCHS posted on Facebook on Monday the following tribute:
“The faculty and students of Magoffin County High School are deeply saddened by the loss of a member of our Hornet Family. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Junior, Sam Wagers.
“Sam, known affectionately as “Sambo”, was a fun-loving young man with a bright future ahead of him. His vibrant personality brought smiles to the faces of all those who knew him. While he will be deeply missed, we are confident that his memory will live on in all those who were privileged enough to know him.
“Counselors will be available at school this week for all of our students. Please call MCHS at 606-349-2011 to speak with someone.
“‘And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief’ —William Cullen Bryant”
Morgan County Coroner Casey Helton told WYMT on Sunday Wagers’ body was sent to the state medical examiner’s office in Frankfort for an autopsy.
The incident remains under investigation by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Law Enforcement Division.
Funeral services for Samuel Wagers are set for 1 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at the Ivyton Baptist Church in Salyersville, with the Magoffin County Funeral Home in charge of arrangements. Wagers’ full obituary can be found on page A4 of this newspaper. The family of Samuel Wagers has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations for funeral expenses can be made by calling the Magoffin County Funeral Home.
Special thanks to Miranda M. Cantrell, from the Licking Valley Courier, for sharing most of the information above with the Salyersville Independent.