WIMAUMA — With toxicology tests pending, it may take weeks to determine the cause of death of a woman who went missing Wednesday in the Little Manatee River, according to the Hillsborough Medical Examiner's Office.
Deputies say Jayne Henry, 23, of Gibsonton, went canoeing off a private marina with her friend, 25-year-old Kathleen Johns of Wimauma. But as they returned from a picnic where they'd had a few drinks, the canoe began taking on water, sheriff's deputies said.
Security guard Dan Willey discovered Johns lying unconscious on the dock of the marina. She appeared intoxicated but uninjured, he said.
When she woke, Johns said her friend was missing. Willey recalled her saying "that they were just messing around, rocking the boat back and forth, getting in water. That's when it overturned."
Johns didn't remember how she got back to the dock, Willey said.
The canoe was found nearby, upside down. Hours later, sheriff's helicopters and divers found Henry's body about 400 yards up river from the marina.
Henry volunteered for the election campaign for Joe Wicker, who until recently was running for the District 57 state House seat. Wicker described her as passionate, highly motivated and well-read on politics.