Excerpt from Chapter 3 – “THE DISCOVERY”

Published December 30, 2016

Reelfoot Killins’ | Joe G. Riley

Excerpt from Chapter 3 – “THE DISCOVERY”:

Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee

On the Sunday morning of the murders, Reelfoot was abuzz with activity shortly before sunrise. It was the last day of the 2004–2005 duck season. The wintery cold front from the north had pushed the ducks further south from the states north of Tennessee. Reelfoot Lake was the ducks’ first Tennessee stop. Reelfoot and its federal refuge were teeming with waterfowl. In light of the cold front, duck harvests had been excellent the last three days. Sunday was expected to be the same in the minds of the duck guides and other duck hunters on Reelfoot. Guides, along with their hunters and the regular hunters in other blinds, needed to be in their blinds and ready to shoot by the legal shooting time of 6:27 a.m., which was thirty minutes before sunrise.

On this frigid day, many of the duck hunters with blinds in shallow water had to forgo the hunt, as their “duck holes” were frozen with an inch or more of ice. Other hunters with open water blinds did not have this ice problem. Several hunters with open water blinds launched their boats at the state-owned Sunset Court boat ramp near Willow Bar. Several hunters had blinds west and north of Willow Bar and navigated near the site of the murders in the pre-dawn hours. Their spotlights, mounted on the front of their boats, discerned nothing unusual as they passed near the southern point of Willow Bar.