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Sylacauga man’s body recovered from Paint Creek
By Christa Jennings
A body retrieved from Paint Creek Sunday evening was later discovered to be a Sylacauga man, 33-year-old Jason Alexander Hayes.
At approximately 6:18 p.m. Sunday, May 16, the Sheriff’s Office received a call from the Hidden Valley community near Paint Creek. The caller stated that there appeared to be a body, face down, floating in the creek.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, at 6:22 p.m. multiple agencies were evaluating the scene, including Coosa County deputies, Chilton County Sheriff’s Office personnel, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Marine Patrol, Coosa County Coroner Jack Brewer, and volunteer fire departments from Weogufka, Stewartville and Marble Valley.
Later that evening, Gap of the Mountain Rescue Squad was working to retrieve the body. Sheriff Michael Howell reported that it took approximately an hour from the time of the call to retrieve Hayes’ body, which included waiting for the coroner and rescue squad to arrive on the scene.
At that time, the Sheriff’s Office reported that it was conducting the case as a death investigation.
The next day, the Sheriff’s Office reported that the deceased person found floating face down in the creek had been identified as Hayes.
His body has been sent to the Department of Forensic Science in Montgomery to determine his cause of death.
Howell said that Hayes had not been reported missing. However, the last contact anyone had with him was about three days prior to his body being found in the creek, with Howell saying the last contact with him was last Thursday or Friday.
Howell said that it appears Hayes drowned accidentally, but they are waiting on autopsy reports and findings to confirm, which he said could take two to three weeks. Those autopsy results would also help determine how long Hayes’ body was in the creek before being discovered.
“I appreciate all of the agencies who assisted us in this case, including the volunteer fire departments and Gap of the Mountain Rescue Squad,” Howell stated. “I appreciate all of their work put into recovering the victim.”
The son of Leslie Rene and George Martin Hayes, Jason Hayes leaves behind three children, Christian Alexander Hayes, Aiden Jacob Hayes, and Rylan Michael Hayes.
Anyone who has any information surrounding Hayes’ death is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 256-377-4922.