SPSO: Bodies of 3 men recovered from Toledo Bend area

The bodies of three men were recovered from the Toledo Bend Lake area over the weekend.
The bodies of three men were recovered from the Toledo Bend Lake area over the weekend.(SPSO)
Published: Aug. 1, 2021 at 7:41 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2021 at 8:03 AM CDT
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SABINE PARISH, La. (SPSO/LDWF) - UPDATE as of August 2: LDWF has identified the three men as Paul L. Murphy Jr., 46, of Opelousas, Joseph L. Sam Jr., 44, of Opelousas and James F. Young, 40, of Lafayette. Their bodies were recovered from Toledo Bend over the weekend.

LDWF agents were notified around 10 a.m. on July 31 about three overdue boaters on Toledo Bend. According to a witness, the three men launched a 14-foot vessel around 10:30 p.m. on July 30 at the Hwy. 1215 boat launch.

The body of Murphy Jr. was recovered around 12:45 p.m. wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) on July 31 near Stonewall Jackson Dr.  The bodies of Sam Jr. and Young were recovered around 7 a.m. on Aug. 1 without wearing PFDs.

The search is continuing for the vessel. It is unknown at this time what happened to cause the men to enter the water and their boat to sink.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident. LDWF agents and Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies are still looking for the sunken vessel. The bodies of the men were turned over to the Sabine Parish Coroner’s Office to determine official causes of death.

UPDATE as of August 1: The bodies of the other two men were recovered from Toledo Bend Lake Sunday morning. No names have been released at this time. Law enforcement officers and rescue teams are still on the scene and will attempt to locate the boat.


According to the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office, three men from South Louisiana went out in a small aluminum boat late Friday night. No one has heard from any of the men since. The truck and trailer were found parked at the boat launch at the end of LA Hwy 1215.

Shortly after noon on Saturday, a body was discovered in the San Miguel Bayou area of Toledo Bend Lake.

Sabine Parish Sheriff Detectives, Sabine Parish Coroner’s Office, North Sabine First Responders, the Central Sabine Search and Rescue Dive Team, LA Dept of Wildlife & Fisheries, Natchitoches Parish SO, Desoto Parish SO are working to find the other two men.

SPSO will provide updates as they become available.

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