Wesley Berry had been at the bait shop near his house on Foster Lake in Wilkinson County complaining about the $700 he was spending each week just to power his home with generators.
With the lake and surrounding area covered by floodwaters from the nearby Mississippi River, linemen cut power to the area in November when powerlines started going underwater.
It was during a trip to town to get fuel for the generator on the night of June 25 that Berry vanished in the middle of the night, possibly in a storm that some in the area believe overwhelmed his boat.
As the search for him continues, and with no signs of the water level falling anytime soon, living on Foster Lake and nearby Lake Mary comes with challenges.
While not many people live full time on The Rocks, the area does maintain a small continuous population that included Berry, Sonny’s Bait Shop owner Sonny Hughey said.
The severe flooding has left the few residents who live out there full time with little choice but to make do.
“Folks have been pumping floodwaters into their home and filtering it for water,” Hughey said.
He said residents like Berry had been relying on generators to provide electric power to their homes since the winter, Hughey said.
“It’s been a good while” since anybody in the area had electricity that came fom the power grid, he said.
The severe flooding has not receded, and Hughey said he’s heard the local rural electric cooperative, Southwest Electric, may not be able to return service to the area until as late as September.
Hughey said the flooding causes a huge problem for Southwest Electric because of the submerged power poles and power lines. utility workers most likely will not be able to gain access to the infrastructure until the water recedes.
Dorothy Foster, who is an owner of Sonny’s Bait Shop at Foster Lake, said Berry would park his truck on high ground miles away from his home, reach the shore of the lake by boat and walk about a mile to the vehicle when he needed to go into town to get provisions.
The night he disappeared, Berry had apparently made his way back to the south end of Foster Lake after purchasing supplies at the Treppendahl’s Super Foods, a convenience store in Woodville.
But he never made it back to his property. Search teams have located a few of his items, such as a 75-gallon tank of diesel and a paddle in Foster Lake.
Foster said storm hit the night Berry went missing and might have played a role in his disappearance and if that was what sealed Berry’s fate, it was the flooding of the Mississippi River that signed it.