The family of a man who was found dead last night after vanishing while on a fishing trip with his son have issued a heartbreaking statement thanking the community for their help.
Matthew Meinert, 38, had taken his son Oliver to Grapevine Lake in Texas on Monday, but concern grew when his boat was found empty on the shore that evening.
Two-year-old Oliver was found alone in woodland the next morning with cuts and scratches but otherwise in good health.
Police announced last night that Matthew’s body had been found in the water following a four-day search.
Texas Game Wardens have now shared a statement at the family’s request. “The family of Matthew Meinert are very saddened at the loss of a wonderful husband, father, son and great friend.
“His love for his wife and son Oliver, was beyond belief.
“Matt’s final hours were spent doing what he loved, playing and fishing with Oliver.
“Our faith has told us that Matthew was looking over his son during the night Oliver spent alone in the woods.
“We would like to thank all the people of the Trophy Club Community who offered prayers and support during this time.
“We are extremely grateful for the efforts of the First Responders during the search, rescue, and recovery. We want to express much appreciation to the Trophy Club Police Department, specifically officer Lieutenant Tracey Shields.
“Thanks also to the Game Warden team, and Captain Cliff Swofford for their compassion and respect for the family during this difficult time.”
Matthew had taken two-year-old Oliver to Grapevine Lake in Texas and sent a happy selfie to his wife to show their excitement.
But concern grew on Monday evening when police received a 911 call after his fishing boat was discovered beached on the shore of the lake, empty except for a mobile phone, shoes, fishing gear and life jackets.
Police found his son at dawn the next morning, wandering through woodland on his own in just shorts and a T-shirt with cuts and scratches. He was in good health and asked an officer for juice.
Search parties have been combing the area ever since, using sonar equipment to scan the lake, and Trophy Club Police Department confirmed last night that Matthew’s body was found in the water.
A statement read: ‘At approximately 5.58pm on Friday, March 10, 2017, 38-year-old Matthew Meinert was discovered deceased in Denton Creek by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
‘The Tarrant County Medical Examiner has scheduled an autopsy and the cause of death is pending. No foul play is suspected.
‘Game Wardens recovered the body in approximately 6 feet of water near the area Meinert’s boat was located on Monday, March 6, 2017. ‘
Earlier in the week KVUE reported officers had a theory that Matthew Meinert fell into the water while the boat continued under its own power, finally hitting the shore and coming to a stop.
Police had been hopeful they would find Matthew, who was an avid fisherman and ‘knew the lake well’.
The police statement continued: ‘Denton County Dispatch received a 911 call after boaters discovered Meinert’s empty fishing boat on the bank of Denton Creek and a search immediately ensued for both Matthew and Oliver Meinert.
‘Oliver Meinert was found in good condition on the morning of Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at approximately 8:15 a.m. The search for Matthew Meinert continued daily until his body was found this evening.
Two-year-old Oliver was immediately taken to a nearby children’s hospital and reunited with his mother when he was found on Tuesday morning.
Police also stated that ‘the family has asked for privacy at this time.’