The bodies of two Joplin men recovered from a Cherokee County strip pit


CHEROKEE COUNTY, Kan. (KSNF/KODE) — The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office says two Joplin men are suspected to have drowned in a strip pit near Columbus.

Authorities began searching for the two men Tuesday night, after their families reported they didn’t return home from a day of fishing.

Around 1:00 a.m. early Wednesday morning, a Cherokee County Deputy Sheriff located the vehicle they had been in at Mined Wildlife Land #40, northwest of Columbus, near Northwest 70th and StarValley Road.

Cherokee County Sheriff

The bodies of 70-year-old Robert Sleep and 71-year-old Stephen LeMaster were both recovered from the water near their vehicle.

An investigation shows both men likely fell through ice and drowned.

No foul play is suspected, but autopsies will be conducted in Kansas City.

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