North Fulton County

Family of man killed visiting waterfall has questions about his death

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — The parents of a Sandy Springs man who drowned while visiting a Tennessee waterfall say they still have lots of questions about his death.

Richard Ragland died June 4 at Foster Falls State Park. His family says he went to the park with his friends, and at some point, he went underwater and didn’t come back up.

“Rich was full of life,” said his mother, Robin McCrear. “He was such an amazing son. The relationship he and I had was just, it was a blessing."

Ragland and his friends had taken a trip to Gatlinburg and decided to stop at the park on the way back to Sandy Springs.


“They wanted to stop at a state park, Foster Falls. Rich wanted to get some pictures of the waterfall,” McCrear said.

Ragland took a picture on the falls not long before something went wrong.

This is the last photo taken of Richard Ragland not long before his death.

“They said he went down and never came back up,” McCrear said.

“He was a good swimmer, so what happened? What got him to that point where he couldn't get himself out of the water?" asked his father, Gary McCrear.

The sheriff says Ragland, a one-time National Guard soldier, got in over his head and couldn't recover.

Another friend tried to rescue him, but couldn't.

“It's a hurtful situation and we know accidents happens,” Robin McCrear said.

Ragland's parents say they want to remember him for his big heart.

“He was about helping others and living life to the fullest,” Gary McCrear said.

“He loved everybody. Never met a stranger," Robin McCrear said.

Ragland's mother says he was an actor and was recently cast in a movie shooting in Atlanta.

She says her heart breaks for what could have been.