Atmore native’s body discovered

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Friends and family of an Atmore native received devastating news late Tuesday evening that their loved one’s body had been discovered.

Search efforts for 35-year-old John Thomas Hawkins IV, of Orange Beach, were called off by authorities around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, but friends and family continued searching. Later in the evening, a body was discovered and later confirmed to be that of Hawkins, Pensacola Police Chief Chip Simmons told It is unknown if friends discovered his body.

It is believed that Hawkins jumped from a sailboat Monday night in Bayou Chico in Pensacola, Fla. during an anniversary trip with his wife, Angela, also 35. Police were dispatched to the Pensacola Shipyard area, 700 S. Myrick St., around 7:25 p.m. on Monday after receiving a call that Hawkins had jumped into the water and could not be found.

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Hawkins, a father of three, and his wife had been staying on a friend’s docked sailboat. Angela Hawkins told police she and her husband had been swimming all day and that her husband had been drinking. She said she was near the rear of the boat when she heard her husband, who is a good swimmer, jump from the front.

After about 10 to 15 minutes, Angela Hawkins said she began looking for her husband but could not find him. At that point, she notified a security guard and when they still could not locate him, police were called.

Sgt. Stephen Davis said foul play is not suspected at this time.

The Pensacola Fire Department responded to the area with a boat Monday night and members of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office dive team also responded for a water search.

John Thomas Hawkins IV