Wife Speaks Out After Husband and Son Disappeared While Kayaking on Spring Break Trip: 'They Died Together'
"We thought it would be a great idea for Chuck and Charlie to be able to get on the kayaks before a storm hit," Jennifer Thompson says of her husband and son
The search for a father and son who went missing while kayaking together in Arkansas last week has taken a tragic turn.
Five days after Chuck Morris, 46, and his 20-year-old son Charley were reported missing, Jennifer Thompson told ABC News that the search for her husband and son has transitioned into a recovery mission.
A spokesperson for the Benton County Sheriff's Office told the outlet that the missing pair are presumed dead.
"After an exhaustive search," both family and officials "are in agreement as to the fate and probable location of Chuck and Charley," reads a statement shared on a GoFundMe page created to support the family, which has raised over $99,000 as of Wednesday.
"The weather and other elements created a perfect storm on the lake, and in the lake, that was unsurvivable," the family wrote in the statement. "The community, authorities, and organizations that specialize in finding loved ones are continuing recovery efforts to bring Chuck and Charley home."
The Benton County Sheriff's Office tells PEOPLE that as of Wednesday, the recovery operation has been scaled back, "only utilizing a few boats with k9 units attached."
"Going forward, we will have our lake division scan the area regularly in hope to provide closure for the family," authorities said.
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Thompson told ABC News that they likely drowned after one of the men fell into the water and struggled to swim, prompting the other to enter the water.
"What saved me from the beginning of this is that they died together; they were together," she told the outlet.
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The family trip took place after Chuck, a percussionist for electronic-jam band Lotus, returned home from a tour, and Charley, sophomore at Ohio Wesleyan University, was also home for break, according to ABC News.
Despite the strong currents and waves on Beaver Lake on March 16, Thompson told the outlet the pair went out on the water while she and their 12-year-old daughter went into town.
"We thought it would be a great idea for Chuck and Charlie to be able to get on the kayaks before a storm hit," Thompson said, adding that initially when they didn't return home, she thought, "oh, they must be having a great time."
However, after more time passed, she went to the lake to search for them, per ABC News. When she couldn't see them, she called the police.
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So far, authorities have been able to recover both kayaks, according to ABC affiliate KHBS.
Thompson told ABC News authorities have also found her husband's hat and coat.
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"We were all hoping for a miracle, but at this point, the search for Chuck and Charley has moved to a recovery," Lotus shared in a statement on their Facebook page Tuesday, noting that "logistical challenges including temperature, weather, and depth have prevented a recovery thus far."
"While we are deeply grieving, we plan to celebrate Chuck and Charley's lives, our memories with them, and what they meant to so many people," they wrote.
In a statement, Chuck and Charley's family said they have been "overwhelmed by the love from around the world."
"As a family, we are deeply grieving but have been heartened by all the love and tributes that have been sent our way for Chuck and Charley. We love you all. Please also continue supporting the Lotus community that was Chuck's passion, and the Ohio Wesleyan University community that Charley dearly loved," the statement continued. "Thank you for keeping them all in your hearts and prayers."
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