published Friday, February 8th, 2013

Missing father’s body found in Polk County creek

  • photo
    In this file photo, searchers stand along the Polk-McMinn county line near the Hiwassee River and Delano Creek after three people went missing when their boat overturned.
    Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A body found today on Conasauga Creek in Polk County has been identified as the missing father whose canoe trip with his children ended in tragedy three weeks ago.

Searchers wading in the creek found Nick Alley’s body in the water at 12:35 p.m. today, West Polk Fire and Rescue Chief Steve Lofty said by phone.

“We’re well satisfied that with all the documentation we have so far, information provided by the bystanders and family fits the cause of death,” Lofty said.

“We’re just trying to bring closure to the family.”

On Jan. 16, Nick Alley and five of his children were in a canoe that tipped over on Conasauga Creek. Three children escaped the floodwaters, but Alley and the other two children did not.

A massive search ensued in and along the rain-swollen creek. Rescuers discovered the body of 6-year-old Lazarus Alley on Jan. 24, and 7-year-old Halana’s remains were recovered five days later.

The family were members of Delano’s close-knit Mennonite community.

Lofty praised the “extensive effort” by rescue personnel and community members who turned out to help in the search. He singled out Tri-State Mutual Aid for providing resources for the effort.

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