Home Local News Body of missing Richmond County man recovered from Pee Dee River

Body of missing Richmond County man recovered from Pee Dee River

Water spills over the Blewett Falls Dam, raising levels on the Pee Dee River, creating a challenge for first responders looking for a missing fisherman. Photo by William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — The body of a man who was missing for three days was found along the Pee Dee River by his family who were assisting first responders on Tuesday.

Sheriff Mark Gulledge announced the news in a press release early Wednesday afternoon that 61-year-old Mark O’Neal and his boat had been recovered.

“Unfortunately, the outcome was not what everyone was hoping and praying for when Mr. O’Neal was located deceased,” Gulldge said.

O’Neal had reportedly gone fishing with his dog on Saturday and family members, concerned that he hadn’t been heard from, reached out for help later that night, Emergency Services Director Bob Smith told the RO on Monday.

The search area ranged from the Blewett Falls Dam to the boat landing in Cheraw, South Carolina.

O’Neal’s dog was found around noon Monday and reunited with the family.

“Thank you to all the first responders that assisted with the search that began on Saturday,” the sheriff added. “These men and women searched tirelessly day and night to locate Mr. (O’Neal). There were so many different agencies and organizations involved, we cannot list them all, just know your efforts and determination are greatly appreciated.”

Those first responders included volunteers and personnel from agencies in Richmond, Scotland, Anson and Chesterfield counties, as well as several state agencies.


Click here to read about the search efforts.

Gulledge also thanked restaurants that provided food during the search.

“…this allowed for the search parties to continue their search grids without interruption,” he said.

The sheriff concluded: “Please keep the (O’Neal) family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

NOTE: This story has been updated. A clarification on who found the body was confirmed by the sheriff at 8 p.m. 5-3-23

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