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Baxter County Patrol Vehicle

UPDATE: Body has been recovered on Lake Norfork after apparent drowning


Area of search

Sheriff's Patrol Boat

Investigator Brad Lewis 


Sept 1, 2013  UPDATE:


The body of 45 year old Penny Jane Hellums of Jonesboro was recovered by the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office at a 12:30 am in approximately 30 ft of water.

The Baxter County Coroner arrived at the scene and pronounced her deceased.  The body is being sent to the Medical Examiner at the Arkansas Crime Lab to determine the cause and manner of death.

Troy G. Lairson, age 51 of Truman, Arkansas was the driver of the 24 ft Pontoon.  Lairson told authorities they had just crossed an area of the lake and was slowing down when the victim jumped in the water while the boat was still moving. Lairson stated he could see her in distress and reversed course and jumped in the water but was unable to save her. Larison flagged down an passing boat and asked them to call 911.

The investigation is continuing.

Sheriff John Montgomery


August 31, 2013

The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, Game & Fish, Corps of Engineers, Salesville Fire Dept, Tracy Fire Dept, Gamaliel Fire Dept are currently engaged in a recovery operation on Lake Norfork after a reported drowning.

At approximately 3:23 pm, 911 received a call from a passing boater who had been flagged down by a man on a pontoon boat asking him to call 911.  The man stated his girlfriend jumped into the water from the pontoon boat while it was moving. The man stated she became distressed and he jumped in to help but she went under and never re-surfaced.

The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office is using sonar and underwater cameras in the search for the body. The area is approximately ½ mile north of the Quarry Marina. The depth of the water is approximately 50 ft.

The victim is a 45-year old female from the Jonesboro, Arkansas are.  The name is being withheld at this time.

Sheriff John Montgomery