Officials in Autauga County say the 17-acre gravel pit lake they've been draining in the search for a missing fisherman is almost empty. Massive pumps have drawn down the lake level at a rate of more than 10,000 gallons per minute.
As the search continued Thursday, the 11th day, crews found a paddle. The day before, they found two fishing reels, a fishing net and a jacket. Those are the most significant items found since the first day of the search when 43-year-old David Taylor's capsized boat and boots were found.
While Taylor's remains have not been located at this point, searchers still believe the evidence they've recovered so far means they're getting close.
Officials with the Autauga County Sheriff's Department estimate the cost so far in the search effort has topped at least $100,000 in time, personnel and equipment, but the operation is ongoing.
Local, state and federal agencies have assisted in the search off Fulton Road and have tried to find the missing man with divers, dogs, and from aircraft above.
Meanwhile, Taylor's family, friends and the community continue to wait for answers. They held a community candlelight vigil Monday evening and continue to show their presence at the scene both day and night.
"We found his jacket and we found his fishing net and we found two more fishing reels so we're feeling assured that he's in the water now. We just want to find his body so we can lay him to rest and close the case. We just want to find him and give his wife some closure," added Taylor's cousin, Gregory Davis.
Chief Deputy Joe Sedinger with the Autauga County Sheriff's Office ruled out foul play.
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