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2015-05-21

Remains thought to be those of LH man

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

John Richard "Rick" Garrett has been missing from his Lakehills home since April 6. Remains found in the lake bottom are believed to be his.



Skeletal remains have been found in the Medina Lake bottom, according to Bandera County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Matt King.
"At this time, we cannot positively identify the remains as those of John Garrett, who disappeared on Monday, April 6," King cautioned, however.
Garrett left his home in Lakehills on that date; however, he wasn't reported missing until a week later. King attributed the delay to the fact that John Richard "Rick" Garrett, 53, had a history of wandering away for days at a time. "His wife thought this was just another one of those times," he said.
The bones were discovered in the lake bottom off Goat Hill Road on Thursday, May 14, after Texas Search and Rescue entered the picture. A volunteer first responder organization with teams in the Austin, Dallas and Galveston areas, TEXSAR focuses on search and rescue operations, as its name implies.
On Friday, May 7, BSCO deputies located Garrett's car, a 2001 silver two-door Saturn coupe, in the lake bottom. Interestingly, area residents had been aware of the vehicle in the lake bottom for about a month. "A resident finally reported it to the tax office in Lakehills and that's when we heard the car had been found," King said. "Nobody reported finding the car to us."
Additionally, witnesses may have seen Garrett going back to the car with water for his vehicle that some speculated had overheated. "With scrub brush now eight- to 10-feet tall in the lake bottom, it would have been easy for him to have gotten disoriented," said one person who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Once deputies found the car, they noted it had been stuck but someone had obviously attempted to extricate it. "The car was high-centered and a jack and spare tire had been removed from the truck," King said. A cell phone was also found inside the Saturn. "We had tried to call Mr. Garrett and get a ping off a cell tower, but couldn't," King continued.
After the car's discovery, deputies scoured the area on foot, but the going was rough, according to King. "It's real four-wheel area down there now with high weeds and brush," he said. A cadaver dog was even brought in to assist with the search.
Last Thursday, TEXSAR joined the effort by conducting a perimeter search augmented with the use of a helicopter.
King said the remains were discovered about a mile from the vehicle.
Central Texas Autopsy, PLLC, in Lockhart conducted an autopsy on Monday, May 18.
"It appears that Mr. Garrett had a plate in his ankle and jaw and the surgeries were done at University Hospital in San Antonio," King said. "Since the implants have serial numbers on them, we're hoping we can use that to give us a positive identification. That won't take as long as DNA - if that can even be used."