Family talks about boater missing at Shearon Harris Reservoir

NEW HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Monday, emergency crews and first responders searched for hours in and around Shearon Harris Reservoir for a missing man, but did not find him.

Family and first responders tell us Ellis McCoy took his boat out on the water to fish and never returned.

“We’ve been married 31 years, and today was the first day he didn’t call to tell me he was going fishing,” said Taffy McCoy, Ellis’ wife.

Taffy McCoy says her husband took his boat out on Shearon Harris Reservoir regularly.

“This is his favorite place to fish,” said Taffy McCoy.


First responders say witnesses saw McCoy on his boat earlier in the day. They say witnesses heard what sounded like a scream, or cry for help and the next time they saw McCoy’s boat it was empty.

Emergency crews say McCoy’s pontoon boat was empty, floating along the lake when they arrived.

Half a dozen first responder agencies assisted in the search, including crews from Apex Fire Department, Holly Springs Fire Department, Wake County Sheriff, Chatham County Sheriff, and the North Carolina Wild Life Resources Commission.

Chief LeRoy Smith with the Holly Springs Fire Department says about six search boats went back and forth using sonar near the site where emergency crews originally found McCoy’s boat, but did not find anything.

Dive crews were on scene as well, but never went into the water, because nothing was found.

Around 7:30 p.m., crews called the search for the night, but will be back out on the lake around 8 a.m.

“We always maintain hope throughout the incident we will find them and it will be a good outcome,” said Smith.

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