Searchers Recover Bodies of Wildlife Officer, Second Woman
Search and rescue teams recovered the last two bodies missing since a flash flood Friday morning in Scott County.
Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck confirmed the body of a second woman was found at approximately 2:44 p.m. Sunday in a wooded area next to Mill Creek. The body of Arkansas Game and Fish wildlife officer Joel Campora had been recovered at 9:30 a.m. on a fence line about 500 yards from where the woman’s body was found.
Hollenbeck said receding water gave search and rescue teams access to areas they had not been able to get to. Both bodies were recovered in such areas Sunday.
Campora, 32, and Scott County Sheriff Cody Carpenter, 41, were attempting to rescue the two women from a flooded home off Highway 71 early Friday morning in Scott County. As the two men approached the home in a boat, other deputies at the scene heard a loud noise, which Hollenbeck said was the structure collapsing from the pressure of the raging water.
“Never forget he was a hero,” said Mike Knodel, Director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, of Campora. “He was a true hero the other night, him and Sheriff Carpenter.”
Campora’s battered boat was found, and Carpenter’s body was recovered Friday about a mile downstream from the destroyed home. The first woman’s body was discovered in a field near the Fourche River bridge by a property owner Saturday afternoon.
“We were hopeful all along that we were doing a rescue mission, but we’ve seen the damage, we’ve seen the destruction that this flood caused,” said Colonel Jeff Crow, Chief of the Enforcement Division of the AGFC.
Family friend John Scantling identified the women as sisters-in-law Vivian Reimer and Regina “Kay” Shearn.
Authorities confirmed the identities of the women on the Sebastian County Facebook page Monday (June 3.)
“Even though they weren’t blood sisters, they went out like sisters,” said Scantling. “You never leave family behind.”
More than 200 officers from local, state and federal agencies are involved in the search. Hollenbeck said more than 50 agencies responded to help with the search.
“Officers responded heroically,” Hollenbeck said. “They stayed until the job was done and all the officers and citizens were found. I’m very proud of the response.”
Knodel said the AGFC is like a family, and its their mission to care for Campora’s wife and children like family.
“Joel gave his life serving the state of Arkansas and representing the Arkansas Game and Fish,” he said. “It’s only fitting that we’re going to take care of his family now that he’s not here.”
Scott County residents lined the streets Sunday evening to honor Campora as his body was given a police escort from the recovery site.
Carpenter’s memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. at Waldron High School. Hollenbeck said Campora’s service will be Friday in Waldron but an exact time had not been determined.