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Kayaker missing since May 7 found by fishermen



The body of a kayaker who disappeared on the Potomac River on May 7 was found this weekend.

Three fisherman discovered 22-year-old Jeryl Cordelle Dickerson Jr. about 11 p.m. on Sunday at the mouth of Bonum Creek in Westmoreland County, Candy Thomson, spokeswoman for the Maryland Natural Resources Police, said on Monday.

Dickerson was identified by distinctive tattoos and then transported to the medical examiner’s office in Baltimore, Thomson said.

Incidents in the Potomac River are the jurisdiction of Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Dickerson lived and worked in the Woodbridge area of Prince William County at the time of his death, but was a 2009 graduate of Colonial Beach High School.

He was a reserve forward on the school’s basketball team when it took the Group A, Division 1 state title his senior year.

He made significant contributions during the run for the title, including making 5 of 5 field goal attempts in the semifinal game and scoring 7 points in the championship game, which was decided in the final seconds.

On May 7, Dickerson and four co-workers drove to Westmoreland County after getting off their shift at a Woodbridge restaurant.

At 6:15 a.m., about four hours after arriving, Dickerson and a co-worker got into separate kayaks planning to paddle across the Potomac River from Hague to Tall Timbers Marina in St. Mary’s County, Md. However, when they were about a mile out the co-worker noticed Dickerson showing signs of fatigue so he turned back for help, Thomson said.

The co-worker went to shore to retrieve a powerboat to tow Dickerson to safety but couldn’t find him when he returned.

The co-worker searched on his own before calling the Coast Guard at St. Inigoes, Md., Thomson said.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police, the Coast Guard, Virginia State Police, volunteer fire departments and the Westmoreland Sheriff’s Office searched for Dickerson.

His kayak was found bobbing against the shoreline on the Westmoreland side of the Potomac on the day he disappeared, Thomson said.

His body was found Saturday night at the water line along a rocky part of the coast that is technically in St. Mary’s County, Md., Thomson said.

Dickerson and his co-workers were visiting a family member’s vacation home located near Coles Point.

The water temperature was 58 degrees when Dickerson disappeared and he did not have a life vest or cell phone with him, Thomson said.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972


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  • Serene Dickerson

    Just to make a correction to this article. I am Serene Dickerson the mother of the deceased. Jeryl was found around 1 am Monday, May 26th. The rest of the article is very accurate not being malicious just want the facts to be accurate. Thanks.

    • Sheila Selman Conley

      I am so sorry for your tragic loss, I can’t begin to imagine the pain you must be going through. My prayers are with you and your family at this time of need. May God’s love and peace comfort and envelope you and yours.

    • Tamara Roberts

      Serene Dickerson I am so sorry for your loss. I met him a few times by my sister Chevonne and niece Taija. He was genuinely a sweet and fun loving man. May he rest peaceful with our Father Jesus christ!

    • Pamela Gould

      Thank you for your note, Mrs. Dickerson. I have corrected the article to say about 11 p.m. on Sunday. I’m told it took a few hours to handle initial matters, including notifications. I am sorry for your loss..Pam

  • linhut1949

    So extremely sorry for your loss, Ms. Dickerson. I cannot imagine losing a loved one like this. May God hold you in his arms and comfort you during this horrible sad time.

  • Betty Thompson

    Serene I am Brandon Thompson’s mother, I am so very sorry for your loss. I Know that he is with the Holly Father. We will miss him very much.

    • Ceron Lawrence

      Hi Serene Dickerson, my is Ceron and I had the pleasure and honor of knowing Jeryl as he was a great person no older than our second oldest son he is 22 as well. Jeryl will be deeply missed as I enjoyed hanging out with him and close friends over in Salem Fields. We all loved playing basketball with him and collaborating at times at our buddy Greg’s house. Those were good times and we have to always remember them during our seasons. My heart goes out to you sincerely and ask God to Comfort us all as we know Jeryl will still take it to the hole in our Heaven!

  • Joeperky

    So sorry the happened!Just a reminder to all who use the water for fun,always wear a life jacket…when boating etc…again so sorry!!