By GARY POPP
A 21-year-old Louisville woman is believed to have been intoxicated when she drowned in a Charlestown pond early Sunday morning, according to the Clark County Sheriff's Department.
The body of Paige Neblett was found below the surface of the pond located near the 200 block of West River Road, north of Charlestown State Park, by an Indiana State Police dive team about 1:30 p.m. Sunday, about 12 hours after she was last seen. Neblett is believed to have been at a bonfire party near Bushman’s Lake and had been taken to a camper about 1 a.m. by her boyfriend so she could go to sleep.
Her boyfriend told deputies he had returned to the camper to check on Neblett about 30 to 45 minutes later, but she was no longer in the camper, and her flip flops, purse and cell phone were located in the nearby area. Her boyfriend and a group of others in the area unsuccessfully searched for Neblett for several hours before authorities were contacted.
The sheriff’s department was contacted at 3:57 a.m. in regards to a missing person in the area.
Responding deputies were met by the caller — a woman who had hosted the party at her camp which her son and several of his friends had attended, including Paige Neblett and her boyfriend.
The woman and her son reported that Neblett was “very intoxicated” before she was taken to the camper by her boyfriend.
The boyfriend reported that he and Neblett had been drinking at the party and at a nearby campsite-bar establishment.
Before Neblett’s body was found, a man told deputies he had been sitting at a campsite near the pond about 1:30 a.m. and recalled hearing “a large splashing noise coming from the bank of the pond directly across from his campsite.”
He told the deputies that he could tell the noise was not coming from a dog or other animal.
“[The man] stated he could look across the pond water and see a silhouette of an object splashing around in the water from a nearby street light that glowed on the pond from across the street,” according to the report.
He continued to say that the splashing lasted for two to three minutes, “... with the splashing being so hard it caused ripples of water to splash across the bank of the pond directly in front of his campsite.”
The man told deputies he did not think anything was suspicious until he saw patrol units in the area hours later.
The man pointed out the area where he had heard the splashing and seen the silhouette. After the dive team found the body, it was placed into a body bag under water because of the people who had gathered in the area.
The Clark County Coroner was called the scene and an autopsy was scheduled in Jefferson County, Ky.