Bodies of 3 last seen in Columbia found

Trio missing since Jan. 7 found in Louisiana river

dprice@thestate.comJanuary 30, 2013 

The bodies of three people last seen Jan. 7 after attending a funeral in Columbia were found Wednesday in a river outside Monroe, La., Louisiana State Police said.

The people – 49-year-old Brady Brown, his 68-year-old uncle Eddie Cobb Jr. and 52-year-old Ella Williams – all apparently drowned after their 2006 Dodge Stratus ran off Interstate 20 and into the Tensas River, trooper Albert Paxton said.

The three had traveled from Texas to attend a funeral Jan. 4 in Columbia, and left Jan. 7 for Shreveport, La., on Interstate 20. The trio planned to make the 12-hour drive entirely on the interstate.

They had not been heard from since one of them placed a cellphone call near Birmingham, Ala., that day.

Earlier this week, Louisiana State Police officers searching for the car from the air saw the Stratus’ bumper floating in the river, and crews started working to pull the car from the water.

Brown, Cobb and Williams were all identified Wednesday, Paxton said.

Officers aren’t sure why the car went into the river, Paxton said. But, he added, the car would have had to travel in the interstate’s median for at least a quarter-mile before going into the water, because barriers would prevent the car from leaving the road close to the river.

Paxton said substantial rains in the area over the past few weeks made finding the vehicle more difficult. Even when the car was found, he said, the Tensas River was above normal levels.

An autopsy for the driver, Cobb, is planned, Paxton said.

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