Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. MIKALA COMPTON | Herald-Zeitung

The Comal County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the apparent drowning of a Wimberley man whose body was recovered from Canyon Lake on Saturday.

Jennifer Smith, CCSO public information officer, said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wardens recovered the body of Steven Blake Johnson, 47, of Wimberley, on the shoreline near Boat Ramp 17 in Little Jacobs Creek Park, on the north central end of the lake adjacent to Farm-to-Market Road 306, around 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Next of kin was notified shortly thereafter; Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Randy Rust pronounced Johnson deceased, she said.

Johnson, wearing a gray shirt and sweatpants, was reported missing just before noon Wednesday. Smith said a 911 call came from someone who identified a vehicle parked near the boat ramp. Authorities found personal items inside the vehicle that belonged to Johnson.

Court records indicate Johnson was released from Hays County Jail on Sunday, Nov. 29 when he posted $3,000 bail following his Nov. 28 arrest by HCSO deputies on a misdemeanor charge of bodily injury assault of a family member. 

On May 13, 2020 Johnson was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony, but was released from the Hays lockup after posting $20,000 bail on May 14, 2020. Messages and emails left with his attorney, Billy McNabb, were not immediately returned on Monday. 

Smith said Johnson had last had contact with family members at 1:05 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1. She said he had expressed suicidal thoughts on that occasion and in other communications immediately prior to his disappearance. 

CCSO deputies and Canyon Lake Fire and EMS joined TPWD in the search. New Braunfels Fire Department Dive Team members searched Wednesday afternoon but did not return to the area. 

Boats from the agencies, including Canyon Lake Fire’s sonar-equipped Marine 53 rescue boat returned to the area Thursday and Friday.

Canyon Lake Fire Chief Robert Mikel said his department searched both days but was called off when the search resumed Saturday morning.

Investigators said they would continue to probe the death, which for now is a possible drowning. 

“He has been listed as a missing person, and we’re not ruling out the fact that he may have drowned,” said CCSO Criminal Investigations Division Lt. Rex Campbell said on Thursday. “But we are certainly looking at other scenarios as well.”

Smith said CCSO was planning to ask for an autopsy and toxicology report, the results of the latter could take several weeks or months. 

She said Monday that no additional information was available and the investigation is still ongoing.

If confirmed, Johnson’s would be the 10th drowning on area waterways and the fifth at Canyon Lake this year.

Celestin Mc-Angy, 26, of Schertz, was recovered between Cranes Mill Park and Comal Park on June 14; Joel Jijo, 22, of Houston was last seen between Boat Ramps No. 5 and No. 6 on May 29 before his body was found June 2.

Brian James Stein, 33, of Denver, Colorado, died near Boat Ramp 11 across Rebecca Creek Park on April 26, and David Alberto Guerra, 34, of Houston, drowned March 17 while trying to save children near the Canyon Park shoreline.

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