Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery is an Illinois-based non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to finding and retrieving the bodies of missing persons that are submerged underwater.
Team Watters uses boats that are equipped with side image sonar technology to conduct searches for missing people in large bodies of water and uses remote-controlled drone boats with sonar for searches in smaller bodies of water like ponds.
The organization operates on the premise that a significant number of missing people are hidden underwater, where they are difficult to find and may go undiscovered for years or even decades.
In 2013, Team Watters used one of their remote-controlled drone boats to locate the car and body of an Indiana man who had been missing for two years. The body of Morgan Johnson was found in a small retention pond that police had overlooked in their previous searches.
The retention pond that Johnson’s car and body were found in was too small for a typical sonar boat and would likely have never been searched without the use of Team Watter’s remote-controlled drone boat.
More recently, the group’s North Fort Myers team in Florida has made the news for their missing person searches in some of Florida’s rivers, ponds and lakes.
Last February, searchers from Team Watters found Lisa Hayden-Gordon, a 52 year old woman from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who had been missing for a month. Hayden-Gordon’s body was located in the New River using the team’s sonar search technology.
In March, Team Watters found the body of a missing Illinois woman, Chrisandra “Chrissy” Williams, in the Ohio River.
After only 20 minutes of sonar searching, the team located Williams’ SUV along with her body in an area of the Ohio River near Rosiclare, Illinois. Williams had been missing for four months when the family decided to contact Team Watters for help with their search.
Williams’ sister, Tami Jackson, told the local news that, based on her sister’s cell phone signals, they knew she was likely still in this area and that gave Team Watters a place to start their search for her.
Team Watters conducts searches for missing persons from Illinois and Ohio down to Florida and Texas. The states that they cover have over 10,000 cold case files for missing persons.
Florida and Texas have the largest number of missing person cold cases in the United States. Currently, there are around 1,000 cold cases that need solved just in the state of Florida.
In the past decade, Team Watters has helped close 78 missing persons cases. The organization operates on donations and volunteer workers and does not charge police or families for their search services.
Over the years, the group has earned a number of public service awards and recognition from state and local governments and law enforcement organizations.
You can find out more about Team Watters and their search and recovery services by visiting their site at http://www.teamwatterssonar.com/ or the group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/teamwatterssonar.