Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

2021 IN REVIEW: 6 | 11 dead on local waterways this year | Community alert

The number of deaths on the area’s waterways declined in 2020 when most of Texas water-related businesses closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After those restrictions were lifted, there were 11 deaths on the area’s waterways in 2021, including six on Canyon Lake, four on the Guadalupe River, and one on the Comal River. All were classified as accidental drowning, with three still under investigation by the Comal County Sheriff’s Office.

CCSO is still investigating the deaths of Medardo Mendoza III, 37, of Canyon Lake, whose lifeless body was found on December 14 near Boat Ramp 6 in Comal Park, and Steven Johnson, 47, of Wimberley, who died on December 1 disappeared and his body was recovered near boat ramp 17 on December 4th. Other deaths at Canyon Lake included Celestin Mc-Angy, 26, from Schertz, whose body was recovered on June 14 between Cranes Mill Park and Comal Park; Joel Jijo, 22, of Houston was last seen between Boat Ramps # 5 and # 6 on May 29, before his body was found on June 2.

Brian James Stein, 33, of Denver, Colorado, died on April 26 near Boat Ramp 11 above Rebecca Creek Park, and David Alberto Guerra, 34, of Houston, drowned on March 17 trying to get children in Save near the shoreline of Canyon Park.

Last year, two died at Canyon Lake, including Luis Rodriguez, 25, of Mexico, who went missing while swimming near Comal Park on July 4th. His body was recovered on July 9, 2020.

CCSO is investigating the death of Manishabahen Patel, 37, of Charlotte, North Carolina, on October 31st on the Guadalupe River. The couple apparently lost their hoses and were swept away in the current, authorities said.

On June 13, Victor Villanueva, 30, and Casandra Kendrick, 22, both from Guadalupe County, died while rescuing two children near the 1117 Farm-to-Market Road bridge. On July 30, the body of 18-year-old Jesus Miguel Romero from New Braunfels was discovered near a river bank on the 1200 block of Gruene Road.

There was only one death on the Comal River that year. On July 2, Albert L. Aranda, 62, of Farmington, New Mexico, died after passing the city’s subway slide. He was the first drowning victim at the venue since May 30, 2020, when Devon Walton, 22, of Houston, died while tubing with friends.

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