Search for Wesley Haddon

Melanie Martin, left, and Katie Petterson prepare to go into the Yazoo River on Friday with a cadaver dog, Homer, to search for Wesley Haddon, who would later be found on Saturday afternoon.

After nearly a week of searching, a recovery team has found the body of a Greenwood fisherman who had been missing in the Yazoo River.

Wesley Haddon

The body of Wesley Haddon Jr. was found Saturday on the Yazoo River. The 75-year-old commercial fisherman had been missing since Nov. 6 following what authorities say was a boating accident. This photo of Haddon was taken in March by Greenwood attorney Moss Melton, a fellow boater.

Leflore County Emergency Management Director Fred Randle said the body of Wesley Haddon Jr., 75, had surfaced Saturday.

During the weekend search, a boater came across Haddon’s body, said Bobby Norwood, Leflore County fire coordinator. Norwood helped pilot the search along with other members of Leflore County Fire Rescue and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

Norwood said he was notified of the boater’s discovery at 1:38 p.m. Saturday, and then authorities went to retrieve the body.

Randle said Haddon’s body had been found about a mile and a half away from where his boat had been found.

A commercial fisherman who sold his haul out of his pickup truck on Grenada Boulevard, Haddon had a boating accident Nov. 6 while out on the Yazoo River, Randle had said. Two days later, Haddon’s nearly 4-foot aluminum boat was found about 6 miles south of the Greenwood boat landing.

Haddon, a Vietnam veteran, had two children and two grandchildren.

Norwood said many resources were exhausted in the search for Haddon.

Over the course of the search, he said multiple agencies, including the Yazoo City and Sunflower county search and rescue teams, surveillance from nearby buildings, sonar, eyewitness reports, aerial search images, numerous search boats and even a cadaver dog were used to try to locate the lost fisherman.

“This is a very highly trained dog, who can smell the deceased below the water,” Norwood said Friday. “But, it did not hit on anything of interest.”

Norwood, who has 25 years of experience, said the search spanned from the Tallahatchie River to Fort Pemberton, from dawn to dusk, for six straight days.

Finally, Haddon was found.

A group of family and friends congregated Saturday afternoon at the boat landing, awaiting members of the search and rescue team. Several thanked the authorities for the hard work they put into the search, finally allowing both family and friends to have closure.

Norwood said Haddon’s family had been out there every day of the search.

Chester Jubran of Greenwood, who was one such person at the boat landing, said she had known Haddon for about 30 years. She had worked at the Bowie Lane Fish Market and would purchase Haddon’s haul to sell.

“Wonderful. The best friend anybody could’ve had,” Jubran said of Haddon. “A true Southern gentleman.”

Cross for Wesley Haddon

A cross made by Greenwood resident Allen Moses to honor Wesley Haddon, a Greenwood commercial fisherman, overlooks the Yazoo River. Authorities recovered Haddon's body Saturday after he initially went missing Nov. 6 following a boating accident on the Yazoo River. He was 75.

Jubran said that on Saturday she went to pray at a cross made by Greenwood resident Allen Moses, who had also known Haddon, which was erected right by the boat landing and overlooking the Yazoo River.

Minutes later after her prayer, she received a call that Haddon’s body was found, giving her and others closure. Her prayer had been answered, she said.

She is not the only one who is hoping the power of faith can help with this tragic event.

“Leflore County Fire Rescue will be praying for the Haddon family, and we ask others do the same,” Norwood said.  

A service for Haddon will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Yazoo River boat launch in Greenwood.

• Contact Adam Bakst at 581-7233 or abakst@gwcommonwealth.com. Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com

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