Jennifer Thompson misses “her boys.”
Thompson said that law enforcement is now working to find the bodies of her husband and son, who went missing while kayaking on Arkansas’s Beaver Lake five days ago. The Benton County Sheriff’s Office’s Lt. Shannon Jenkins said that the two are thought to be dead. Thompson thinks they probably died when one of them fell out of a kayak into the cold lake and the other tried to save him.
“What saved me at first was that they died together; they were together,” Thompson said.
Charlie Morris, her 20-year-old son, was a sophomore at Ohio Wesleyan University. He played the violin and guitar, ran in three seasons, led the orchestra, and wanted to be a lawyer. Her 46-year-old husband Chuck Morris had a son named Charlie and a daughter who was 12 years old. He was also a well-known percussionist with the electronic-jam band Lotus.
Jesse Miller, who is in Chuck’s band, said that Lotus had just finished a 25-city tour. Charlie was home for the summer, so his family decided to take a trip from Kansas City to Beaver Lake, Arkansas to relax.
Thompson said, “We thought it would be a good idea for Chuck and Charlie to get on the kayaks before a storm hit.” While she and her daughter went into town on March 16, “the boys” went out on the kayaks, even though the water was cold, the currents were strong, and the waves were three feet high.
When Thompson came back, Chuck and Charlie were nowhere to be found. At first, this didn’t seem like a big deal.
“When we got home, they were still not there. Since my husband likes to try new things, we thought, “Oh, they must be having a great time.” “she told me.
Thompson says that as time went on, people went into “crisis mode.” They drove twice around the lake, looking for the father-and-son kayakers as they went. Thompson called the police in the late afternoon because he still hadn’t found them.
Rescue teams used helicopters, drones, sonar, and dogs to search the area for days. Neighbors also came to help with their boats.
Thompson said that they found a kayak the first night and another the next day. Later, they found Chuck’s hat and coat, but other than that, there was no sign of the two men.
“I guess I just wanted to hold on to hope for the first couple of days,” Miller said. “You know, as that got less and more real, I think the grief set in a little bit more,” she said.
Jenkins said that the efforts to help people would be cut back tomorrow. Thompson says it’s not clear when or if the bodies will be found.
She said that the most likely thing is that one of the men fell out of his kayak into the water. Wet clothes made it hard for him to swim, so the other person got out of his kayak to try to help. Thompson said it was likely that the two people drowned in the cold water of Beaver Lake. She also said that the theory was supported by the fact that cadaver dogs found a body near where she was thought to have drowned.
Thompson said that when he looked back, the lake was cold and rough, so it was “practically a perfect storm for drowning.”
As the rescue effort went on, friends of the family and Lotus fans started sending messages of support through the Internet. As of Tuesday evening, $87,347 had been donated to the family through a GoFundMe page. With the sadness came memories of the father and son, who Thompson called “beautifully gentle, loving men” who were both great musicians.
She said, “Chuck was fun, creative, and funny, while Charlie was serious and thought it was very important for people to be good.”
Miller told ABC on behalf of the band Lotus that, even though they are sad about Chuck’s death, they will always remember him as a great musician, father, and friend.
Thompson said, “When he was on stage and playing that music, he was just beauty, spirit, and love.”