CENTERVILLE — It has been reported that a man with Appanoose County ties has drowned in Bonnifield Lake in Fairfield.
According to a press release from the Fairfield Fire Department, on June 12 at approximately 6:58 p.m., a 911 call was made to the Jefferson County Law Center for the Fairfield Police Department and Fairfield Fire Department to respond to a drowning at Bonnifield Lake Beach.
According to witnesses, 31-year-old Jesse Harl of Batavia, and formerly of Centerville, was swimming beyond the designated swimming area with a young girl. Harl became a distressed swimmer and another swimmer retrieved the young girl taking her to safety. Swimmers in the area attempted to locate Harl to no avail.
The Fairfield Police Department and Fairfield Fire Department responded and began a search. At approximately 8:06 p.m., Harl was located and transported to the Offices of the Iowa State Medical Examiner for a determination of the cause of death pending an autopsy.
Bonnifield Lake remains closed until further notice. It usually is open for swimming from dawn to dusk. The lake is a swim at your own risk area and no lifeguards are present.
Assistance with this effort were the Fairfield Police Department, Fairfield Fire Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Ottumwa Fire Department Water Rescue Team, Fairfield Park and Recreation Department, Fairfield Water Department, Fairfield Public Works Department and Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office.