Oxendine Drowns While Smalley is Rescued

(Jefferson County, MO) A man from High Ridge, 59 year old Bennette E. Oxendine, is dead and another man from High Ridge, 66 year old Richard A. Smalley, after a rafting trip turned fatal on the Big River in Jefferson County. It began shortly after 4 o'clock Friday afternoon, when a family who was floating the river in a raft, roughly 2 miles upstream from the Merrill Horse Access point, decided to go for a swim. Oxendine struggled to stay afloat and clung to a tree limb before going under. Smalley attempted to help, but he too went under. Smalley was later found and resuscitated. Oxendine wasn't. His body was recovered by first responders at around 5:30.