‘Unanswered questions’ after 22-year-old NC woman’s body found in SC lake, official says

Krista Lee Philemon’s body was found in Lake Wateree, the Kershaw County coroner said.
Krista Lee Philemon’s body was found in Lake Wateree, the Kershaw County coroner said. Facebook Screen Grab

Dive crews recovered the body of a North Carolina woman who jumped into Lake Wateree late Sunday but never resurfaced.

The woman’s body was found just before 7 a.m. Tuesday near Jutty Point, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said on Twitter.

The boater was identified as 22-year-old Krista Lee Philemon of Monroe, N.C., Kershaw County Coroner David West said in a news release.

An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning, West said.

DNR officers were called to the lake around 8:40 p.m. Sunday and were told a woman jumped off a pontoon boat and was not seen again, The State reported.

The boat, which was carrying several people at the time, was drifting, DNR tweeted.

The search was suspended in the early-morning hours Monday but resumed it around 7 a.m. Officials again suspended the search around 10 p.m. Monday before resuming it Tuesday morning.

Additional details about Philemon’s disappearance were not available.

It’s very puzzling,” Camden Fire Chief John Bowers said, according to WLTX. “There are a lot of unanswered questions we don’t understand. We don’t know why this happened.”

Officials said Philemon was visiting friends in the area, and she was not wearing a life jacket when her body was found Tuesday, per WIS. There is no indication of foul play, according to officials.

Philemon was a graduate of Piedmont High School according to her Facebook page. That is less than 30 miles from Charlotte.

Lake Wateree is 30 miles northeast of Columbia and has 216 miles of shoreline, according to DNR. While the average depth of the lake is 6.9 feet, the water goes as far down as about 225 feet in its deepest spot, per DNR.

Capt. Robert McCullough said it has been a year or two since there was a DNR water recovery at Lake Wateree.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Ben Thomas, an investigator from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, talks about the investigative process after boating accidents and shares some tips on boating safety.

Related stories from The State in Columbia SC

Teddy Kulmala covers breaking news for The State and covered crime and courts for seven years in Columbia, Rock Hill, Aiken and Lumberton, N.C. He graduated from Clemson University and grew up in Barnwell County.
Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.