A man who drowned in a pond Sunday after fleeing from Branson police has been named.
Taney County Coroner Tony Mullen identified the deceased on Monday as Lyman Bryce Gardner Jr., 31, of Hollister. Mullen said an autopsy will be performed Thursday but that the cause of death appears to be drowning.
The Branson Police Department had issued a statement on Sunday about the incident, although the suspect was not named at the time, pending notification of next of kin. It stated that police had responded to the area of Fall Creek and Willow Bend roads at about 1 a.m. on a call of a “car prowler.” Officers managed to find a man with evidence of a crime, but he fled from police. As officers were setting up a perimeter, they heard a commotion in a nearby pond. According to the statement, officers believe the man went into the pond and drowned. His body was recovered with the help of Western Taney County Fire Protection District firefighters.
This appears to be the second time in the last month a person has drowned in Taney County while feeing from law enforcement.
On Aug. 11, Tyler Jones, 26, of Hollister, reportedly was driving a motorcycle when he refused to stop for a sheriff’s deputy and drove onto Lake Shore Drive before getting off of a motorcycle and fleeing on foot. His body was later recovered in 7-10 feet of water in Lake Taneycomo, about 15-20 feet from shore, according to a press release from Taney County Sheriff Jimmie Russell.
Sunday’s full statement from Branson police
“Branson Police officers responded to the area of Wyndham Branson at the Meadows, in the area of Fall Creek and Willow Bend Road at approximately 1:00 a.m. Sunday, September 8, 2019 on a call of a car prowler. During the investigation, officers found a suspect with evidence of a crime who ran from police. The officers lost the suspect.
“While setting up a perimeter to find the suspect, police heard a commotion in a nearby pond. Police believe the suspect went into the pond and drowned. With the help of the Western Taney County Fire District police were able to recover the body of the suspect, a male in his mid 20’s to early 30’s.
“The Branson Police Department will continue to investigate and piece together information. The Taney County Coroner will also conduct a complete investigation and will release the suspect’s identity after next of kin have been notified.”