Officials confirm identity of body found near Victoria Barge Canal

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

April 14, 2014 at 5:04 p.m.
Updated April 13, 2014 at 11:14 p.m.

Texas Game Wardens are investigating the death of an experienced angler whose body was found Sunday near the Victoria Barge Canal.

Monty Scruggs, a 48-year-old Aransas Pass resident, was thought to be fishing alone in the San Antonio Bay when something went wrong.

"From talking with friends and family members, we know he was a very experienced mariner," Capt. Rex Mayes, a game warden, said Monday. "He fished a lot of tournaments off-shore and in the bay. We're looking at a lot of different things to find some answers as to what might have happened."

Investigators are using Scruggs' Garmin GPS system, which was attached to his 25-foot black-and-tan pleasure craft boat, to determine his route from that fatal evening, Mayes said.

"We're hoping to maybe get out there and look at some of these waypoints after this northern passes and see if we can find some place that there's residue of gel-coat from the boat where this individual might have struck an object in the water," Mayes said.

Rescuers found no life-jacket or personal flotation device on the man, Mayes said.

Rescue workers began searching at 7:25 a.m. Friday, continuing through the weekend after a passer-by notified the U.S. Coast Guard of an abandoned boat near the Victoria Barge Canal.

The boat was left running not far from Turnstake Island along the Victoria Barge Canal, near marker 16, and a wallet was found inside, Mayes said.

Stations in Port O'Connor and Port Aransas were called to help, and a helicopter from the Corpus Christi Coast Guard assisted.

"We're very fortunate to have the military here in our backyard to have their assets in the air," Mayes said.

The victim's friends and family and fishermen and guides pooled resources, including aircraft and personal boats to assist in the search, he said.

Butch Hodges, a Seadrift resident, and Jonny Giles, of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, also assisted, Mayes said.

Justice of the Peace Nancy Pomykal pronounced Scruggs dead on the scene. An autopsy has been ordered.

Scruggs had been employed 20 years at Isaacks Directional Drilling in Corpus Christi, according to LinkedIn.



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