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Police identify man who drowned during family gathering at Jefferson County park

Police identify man who drowned during family gathering at Jefferson County park

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UPDATED at 5:45 p.m. Monday with victim's name

BYRNES MILL — Police on Monday identified a man who drowned Friday in the Big River at Byrnes Mill City Park, authorities said.

Bennette E. Oxendine Jr., 59, was swimming with several other family members when he got caught in the river current and slipped underwater, said Byrnes Mill Police Chief Frank Selvaggio. Oxendine lived in the High Ridge area of Jefferson County. 

A second family member was rescued by authorities after he tried to save Oxedine, his fiancée's brother. Selvaggio said that man, not identified by authorities, was able to walk to an ambulance. 

Oxedine was pulled from the river soon after the other man was rescued. 

The drowning call came in just after 3:30 p.m., said High Ridge Fire Protection District Capt. John Barton. 

The Metro West Fire Protection District diving team and Cedar Hill Fire Protection District assisted at the scene.

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