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Body of missing Batesville man discovered in White River

The body of a missing Batesville man has been discovered after authorities found the man’s vehicle in the White River below Lock and Dam 1.

At the request of the Batesville Police Department, the Arkansas State Police issued a Silver Alert for Jerry Dwayne Overland, 60, in late August. Overland (pictured) had last been seen at his Neeley Street home on Saturday, Aug. 28, according to the ASP. The alert said Overland may be traveling in a black 2012 Chevrolet Captiva. He was also reported as being a diabetic and without his medicine.

A Batesville Police Department investigator told White River Now Monday morning that a fisherman on the south side of Lock and Dam 1 in Batesville reported finding a vehicle taillight located near a damaged fence at Kennedy Park on Sept. 9. The fence borders the parking area of Kennedy Park from the river’s edge and the concrete ledge leading down to the sandbar.

In a press release, the Batesville Police Department said on Sept. 10 it received and viewed security video footage from a nearby business that showed a car going through the fence on the south side of the river and into the water before disappearing from view. The footage was taken Aug. 29, around 3:30 a.m., according to the investigator. Local officials then informed the Corps of Engineers on Sept. 10 of a possible vehicle in the water below the dam and needed the Norfork Dam to shut down while the river level receded.

With the water level down on Sept. 12, officials searched the area of the river. Around 8:50 a.m., dive team members located the 2012 Chevrolet Captiva belonging to Jerry Overland and subsequently discovered Overland’s body.

The body will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy.

Brenda Bittle with the Batesville Police Department told White River Now police believe Overland drove his car into the fence — which then bent back into place as the Chevrolet hit the top of the spillway. The car then slid down the spillway into the river, sinking out of sight. It’s theorized since the fence was in possible disrepair due to past flooding and popped back into place after the car went into the water, the damage was not immediately noticed.

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