DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. - After a search that was hampered by the weather, the bodies of Mason Cox and David Wood, both 20 years old, were located in Lake Lanier.
Their longtime friends said the emotions surrounding the discovery are still raw.
"There's no healing. This is a small town. Everybody will tell you it's like losing a part of your family," said friend Lee Smith.
The Dawson County Sheriff's Office, the Department of Natural Resources, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Hall County all searched for the two, last seen going fishing at Frederick's Cove.
More than a week passed before they were discovered.
"It was sickening for all of us," Smith said about his reaction when he found out the bodies had been recovered.
The bodies were found not far from a boat dock that investigators initially keyed in on. They
said the icy waters kept them from making the discovery earlier.
"We weren't able to go into Lake Lanier because of the ice. We had to wait until those conditions changed to be able to get the equipment out there to go and locate the bodies," Maj. Tony Wooten of the Dawson County Sheriff's Office said.
They were finally able to find the men thanks mostly to the DNR's side-scan sonar and underwater camera system.
"I think it was priceless. That's always the main goal is to find someone's loved one," said Cpl. Adam Laudermilk with the Georgia DNR.
said they're still trying to make sense of this. They said both men were athletic.
"No obvious signs of trauma on either body. At this point, like we said, they'll go to the crime
lab, they'll perform an autopsy," Wooten said.
"I just want to know what happened," friend Samie Smith said. "I just feel like everyone will feel better when we know what happened."