On Tuesday, December 13 Justin Claus, 21 of Lake Conroe Hills in Willis decided to go camping. This was not the first time as he loved the Sam Houston National Forest just north of his home. He launched his twelve foot john boat across the street from his home taking with him a sleeping bag and his dog. Justin had a flotation device but not a life vest. He planed to go toward the north end of the lake but as he got underway his motor quit. He called a friend about 9:30 p.m. and asked him to meet him at Bent Water. At this point he was rowing the boat.
Justin never made it to Bentwater. His friend looked along the shoreline but nothing. Wednesday afternoon his dog mysteriously appeared behind the closed gate in the backyard. It was later learned that the dog ended up in some ones backyard just north of Scott’s Ridge. That family seeing the tags called the vet and was able to secure n address. Once I the neighborhood a neighbor identified the dog and directed the people who found him where the dog belonged.
Nothing was heard from him on Thursday and his parents filed a missing persons report. On Friday the Montgomery County Precinct 1 Lake Patrol started a search of the lake and Friday evening the US Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter to search.
On Saturday Justin’s father found his capsized boat near Scotts RIdge and the search was directed to the north side of the lake.
Sunday Precinct 1 continued the search. With the drought conditions and the lake extremely low made it an extra task. Areas that normally were under water had to be searched by land as no water existed. During the search in the lake bed one four wheeler was damaged when it was sucked down by quick sand. A deputy also ended up chest deep in quick sand.
Monday morning Equisearch joined in the search as did a twenty-four member party of the Montgomery County Search and Rescue,a non-profit search team. Using a volunteer with a helicopter and several boats and four-wheelers teams worked the lake. Using sonar they scanned the lake putting divers into the fifty degree water when a target was acquired. One of those targets that showed up today was the body of Jason Claus. He was found at the eighteen foot level.
Lt. Cane with the Montgomery County Precinct 1 Constables Office Lake Patrol urged anyone who gets in a situation such as Justin did when he lost his motor, to call 911. The Lake Patrol is on duty twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I addition North Montgomery County Fire Department and Lake Conroe Fire Departments have boats kept on the lake. Tow Boats USA is a private company also available on the lake. Almost like a wrecker for your boat.
In addition, he advised boaters to se a life vest and not just a flotation device. If your boat should capsize and you are rendered unconscious a floatation device itself will not help you.