Deaths on area waterways took a dip in 2020, when most Texas water-related businesses closed for months-long periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After those restrictions were lifted, 2021 saw 11 deaths on area waterways, including six on Canyon Lake, four on the Guadalupe River and one on the Comal River. All were ruled as accidental drownings, with three still under investigation by the Comal County Sheriff’s Office.
CCSO is still probing the deaths of Medardo Mendoza III, 37, of Canyon Lake, whose lifeless body was found near Boat Ramp 6 in Comal Park on Dec. 14, and Steven Johnson, 47, of Wimberley, who disappeared on Dec. 1 and his body recovered near Boat Ramp 17 on Dec. 4. Other Canyon Lake deaths included Celestin Mc-Angy, 26, of Schertz, whose body was recovered between Cranes Mill Park and Comal Park on June 14; Joel Jijo, 22, of Houston was last seen between Boat Ramps No. 5 and No. 6 on May 29 before his body was found June 2.
Brian James Stein, 33, of Denver, Colorado, died near Boat Ramp 11 across Rebecca Creek Park on April 26, and David Alberto Guerra, 34, of Houston, drowned March 17 while trying to save children near the Canyon Park shoreline.
Last year two died at Canyon Lake, including Luis Rodriguez, 25, of Mexico, who went missing while swimming near Comal Park last July 4. His body was recovered on July 9, 2020.
CCSO is investigating the Oct. 31 Guadalupe River death of Manishabahen Patel, 37, of Charlotte, North Carolina, who died while tubing her husband, who was injured but later recovered. The couple apparently lost their tubes and became swept up in the current, authorities said.
On June 13, Victor Villanueva, 30, and Casandra Kendrick, 22, both of Guadalupe County, died while saving two children’s lives near the Farm-to-Market Road 1117 bridge. On July 30, the body of 18-year-old Jesus Miguel Romero of New Braunfels was discovered near a river bank in the 1200 block of Gruene Road.
There was only one death on the Comal River this year. On July 2, Albert L. Aranda, 62, of Farmington, New Mexico, died after going through the city Tube Chute. He was the first drowning victim on the venue since May 30, 2020, when Devon Walton, 22, of Houston, died while tubing with friends.