Body Of Murray State Student Who Drowned Labor Day Weekend Found On Lake Shore

Sep 3, 2019

Kentucky Lake
Credit Matt Markgraf / WKMS

The body of a 22-year-old woman who drowned over Labor Day weekend was found off the shore of ‘Paradise Cove’ at Kentucky Lake on Tuesday morning.

Calloway County Emergency Management Director Bill Call said Samantha Ratledge of Scott City, Missouri, fell overboard off of a pontoon boat Sunday night. He said other passengers on the boat said they heard a bump and the operator stopped the boat to search for her.

Call said multiple factors lead to the accident. “There was alcohol involved both on the boat operator’s part and on the passengers part,” Call said. “They were boating in the dark and no one had a life vest on. So if you take away any of those factors, then this might not have happened.”

The operator, 46-year-old James Nance, was arrested Sunday night and administered a blood alcohol level test. He was lodged in the Calloway County Jail and was released Monday morning. A criminal investigation is underway.

Ratledge was a Murray State University student. Spokesperson Shawn Touney sent the following statement on Tuesday afternoon:

On Tuesday afternoon, Murray State University was made aware of the tragic off-campus death of Samantha Ratledge, a student pursuing a degree in occupational safety and health from Scott City, Missouri. The University community extends its thoughts and prayers to Samantha’s family and friends during this very difficult time.  Any students in need of assistance may contact University Counseling Services at 270-809-6851, while faculty and staff needing assistance are encouraged to contact the University’s Employee Assistance Program at 800-441-1327.