Missing Central Texas man found dead in truck

Published: May. 1, 2016 at 2:38 PM CDT
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A Hill County man who disappeared Friday night after he set out to look for a place from which to launch his boat to fish over the weekend, was found dead Tuesday in his truck in neighboring Bosque County.

Tom Tiwater, 42, a steelworker from Blum, was found dead in his black 2006 Ford F150 extended cab pickup truck near Kopperl on the opposite side of the upper end of Lake Whitney from home.

Authorities say his truck was spotted after a man in the area who knew Tiwater was missing, decided to check out a nearby creek.

That's where he found Tiwater's truck submerged in the water.

An autopsy was ordered.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, authorities received a promising report about a possible sighting of a submerged truck, but it turned out to be a false alarm.

"We had a report that searchers found a submerged truck at a flooded boat ramp, which was one of Tiwater’s favorite boat-launching points,” Hill County Sheriff Wes Collins said Tuesday.

With the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which provided a boat, authorities determined that what appeared to be a shiny object under the water was only debris, he said.

“We now go back to our other leads,” Collins said.

Those leads include a man and his girlfriend who told deputies they spotted a truck matching the description of Tiwater’s with as many as four people inside traveling at a high rate of speed Friday night in Chisholm Trail Park on the Brazos River above Lake Whitney, Collins said.

Collins said investigators are also checking out an apparent discrepancy between initial description of what Tiwater was wearing and what he’s seen wearing in surveillance images from a convenience store where he stopped Friday night to buy beer before he disappeared.

Initial reports indicated Tiwater was wearing khaki shorts, a blue T-shirt and work boots, but in the video he's wearing a rain coat and blue jeans, Collins said.

"I'm not sure where the discrepancy comes from,” Collins said.

Tiwater's cell phone last pinged at a Blum cell tower late Friday night.

Tiwater, who’s 6-foot-6, weighs 320 pounds and has red hair, is a well-known, well-loved quiet man who led the Blum Youth Athletic Association for years.

Collins said he played high school football with Tiwater in Grandview.

"I've never heard anybody say anything bad about him."

(Madison Adams contributed to this story)