DeKalb County Coroner: 1 dead at DeSoto State Park

The coroner identified the victim as 40-year old Joseph Nicholas Cantrell.

Posted: May 27, 2019 2:57 PM
Updated: May 27, 2019 10:44 PM

The DeKalb County Coroner told WAAY 31 40 year old Joseph Nicholas Cantrell died at DeSoto Falls Monday. Cantrell is from Rome Georgia. He died while cliff jumping at the popular tourist desitination in DeKalb county.

The Superintendent of DeSoto State Park, Josh Hughes, told WAAY 31 this was the first death at the falls in 3 years. It was because Cantrell was doing something that he was not supposed to be.

DeSoto falls are 104 feet tall. The area where Cantrell cliff jumped from is a few feet taller than that. Surrounding the falls is a guard rail with signs every few feet warning people to not cross the rail, "I've been here fifteen years and the railing has been here the entire time I've been here," said Hughes.

Hughes told WAAy 31 park officers partrol the area to prevent people from crossing the railing and jumping. If you're caught you can get a ticket and face a fine from a judge, "to cross the rail, to jump from the falls, to kayak from the falls, anything like that is all against park regulations," said Hughes.

Hughes told WAAY they don't have enough staff to constantly be patrolling the area surrounding the water fall, which partially contributes to the problem. Since they can't patrol all the time it's hard to tell just how many people are taking the risk, "if they make it, if there's nothing wrong with them, chances are we never know about, unfortunately," said Hughes.

"So it could happen pretty frequently," asked WAAY 31's Kody Fisher.

"It could, yes sir," said Hughes.

Right now, park officials do not think alcohol played a role in Cantrell's death.

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