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April 29, 2014

Search resumes at Laurel Lake

Family hopes to find loved one missing since 2012

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — For the family of Clarence Wayne Holmes, the level and range of emotions this week has been overwhelming at times.

Holmes, 32 of Berea, was last seen on the afternoon of July 5, 2012.

An avid boater, Clarence loved Laurel River Lake. His family said he’d go down there every weekend.

On that day nearly two years ago, he was navigating Laurel River Lake near Holly Bay Marina when a late afternoon thunderstorm broke the peaceful calm.

In a Times-Tribune story from July 18, 2002, Clarence Holmes had made efforts to help another boater fix a boat propeller as the storm approached. He left to go to the marina.

“He told them that he would be right back,” his father, Arnold Holmes said in the 2012 story.

According to the story, Clarence’s boat was found later, idling in neutral at a small island near Marsh Branch.

He’s not been seen since.

This week, a new round of searches in the lake began. All for one purpose — to recover Clarence’s body, and to bring closure to a family.

“Sylvia calls me every day, and it’s really emotional for her,” Peggy Wooton of Noctor, in Breathitt County, said Thursday at Holly Bay Marina as she and other family members waited to hear the latest in the search.

“Sylvia” is Sylvia Holmes, Clarence’s mom. She’s also Peggy’s daughter. And since his disappearance almost two summers ago, Peggy added she runs into things that remind her of the happy young man who was the first grandchild in the family.

“I found a tape, and we were singing on it. I heard a voice on the tape. It was Dena’s (Clarence’s aunt, Dena Newcomb) voice. And Dena was teaching him how to sing, count and learn peoples’ names. Clarence was about one or two at the time,” Peggy remembered as she sat away from the bright April sun.

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North Laurel won its second straight Senior League State Championship with a 6-3 decision over Lewis County. Much of this same team also won a state title as 11-year-olds.

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