Two months later, the sailor's body was found in the Ohio River without an explanation as to how he ended up there.
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Sailor Drowns While on Shore Leave
On February 9, 2013, Carl Austin Travis, a Navy sailor from Parkersburg, W.Va left his ship, the USS Halyburton to go on shore leave. After leaving the missile-guided frigate, which was stationed in Jacksonville, Fla., the twenty-two year old traveled to Charleston, W.Va. He next visited his mother Susan Lott, who lives in Belpre, Ohio, on February 11. He mentioned that he was happy to be able to take a test to become a supply officer, and told her that he loved her. He was then brought to Marietta, Ohio either by his mother or another relative.
The evening of Monday, February 11, Carl went to his grandmother's house to help her get new tires for her car.
"I said I loved him and he said, 'I love you grandma,'," said his grandma, Connie Backus.
Carl was last seen by his dad's girlfriend the following day, Tuesday, February 12.
"That's when he said Tuesday evening he was going to go somewhere up to Marietta and party," said Backus.
Carl spent the evening at The Galley, a restaurant and bar in the Hackett Hotel on 2nd Street featuring live entertainment. He was next seen approximately four blocks away renting a room at the Lafayette Hotel.
His mom and grandma had no idea that he planned to book a room; they learned of it later from his uncle, Paul, who added that Carl planned to party with his buddies.
When they didn't hear from Carl for some time, his family grew worried. His grandmother reported the lack of contact to the police on Feb. 18. He was officially declared missing after he failed to report back to the ship as scheduled at 7 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22.
His grandmother told the media that this was uncharacteristic of her grandson, who enjoyed working on the ship.
"He was anxious to get back because he was going to run a track, thing down there," said Backus.
Carl's car was found to be still parked at his hotel, but there was no trace of the missing sailor.
Two months later on April 12, Carl's body was "found floating in the Ohio River seven miles south of Marietta," reported WOUB.com. Employees at nearby Marietta Industrial Enterprises were able to retain the body near their dock until authorities arrived.
Police said there was nothing at the scene to indicate foul play.
Family identified a wallet and jacket that were found on the body. The body was then taken to the medical examiner in Montgomery County where it was positively identified through DNA and dental records.
The cause of death was determined to be drowning.
It is still unknown how Travis got into the water.
While heartbreaking, the discovery brings an end to two agonizing months of uncertainty, said Gary Backus, Travis' grandfather.
"This will mean some closure," he said.
A funeral was held in Parkersburg, W. VA on May 2.
The crew of the USS Halyburton also held a memorial service for their shipmate on May 30.
Update: On April 30, 2013, WTAP News reported that a Belpre woman was arrested for giving false information to the police in the case. Patsy Hasley, 55, is accused of calling the Wood County 911 Center on April 13 to say that her grandchild's father was involved in the disappearance of Carl Travis. She said he was also possibly armed. Police determined that the allegations were false, and Hasley was charged with three first degree misdemeanor counts of falsification. She will also have to pay nearly $500 for the wages paid to detectives to investigate the false claim.
"He was just a sweet boy. He had his whole life ahead," said Susan Lott, Carl's mother.
Carl was a graduate of Parkersburg South High School in W. VA. He was on the track and wrestling teams and ran in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon.
Lott said she will remember her son as an intelligent young man, who was always thoughtful.
He was a very kind-hearted person. He had a really warm smile," she said.
Carl decided to join the Navy to see the world, his mother said. She added that he was planning on taking a test to become a supply officer, and that he liked having opportunities to train in different fields and develop a work ethic.
Name/age: Carl Austin Travis, 22
Residence: Parkersburg, OH
Last seen: 02/12/13 4 pm at the Lafayette Hotel
Recovered: 04/12/13 Ohio River
Physical Description: 5'7," 140 pounds, brown hair, blue eyes, glasses
Investigating Agency: Marietta Police (740) 373-4141
Staff Writer. (2013, May 1). Sheriff says man found in river drowned. Parkersburg News and Sentinel. Retrieved June 14, 2013 from http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/id/573595.html.
Writer. (2013, April 30). Woman Charged with Giving False Information in Carl Travis Disappearance. WTAP.com. Retrieved June 14, 2013 from http://www.thenewscenter.tv/home/headlines/Woman-Charged-With-Giving-False-Information-In-Carl-Travis-Disappearance-205035071.html.
Rogers, Jasmine. (2013, April 13) Family members confirm missing man recovered from Ohio River. The Marietta Times. Retrieved May 11, 2013 from http://www.mariettatimes.com/page/content.detail/id/551179/Family-members-confirm-missing-man-recovered-from-Ohio-River.html?nav=5002
Rogers, Jasmine and Shawver, Sam. (2013, March 5). Missing Parkersburg man subject of search. The Marietta Times. Retrieved May 11, 2013 from http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/id/571484/Missing-Parkersburg-man-subject-of-search.html?nav=5061
Kaitor, Kposowa. (2013, February 25). Marietta Police Continue Search for Missing Parkersburge Man. WOUB.com. Retrieved May 11, 2013 from http://woub.org/2013/02/25/marietta-police-continue-search-missing-parkersburg-man
Staff Writer. (2013, February 23). Parkersburg man declared missing. Parkersburg News and Sentinel. Retrieved June 15, 2014 from http://www.newsandsentinel.com/page/content.detail/id/571126/Parkersburg-man-declared-missing.html?nav=5061
The Galley. Retrieved June 14, 2013 from http://www.thegalleymarietta.com/menus/the-galley-dinner-menu/