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Manhunt ends with sad news
The discovery of a local cowboy’s body in a stock tank on a ranch in northeastern La Salle County early Monday, July 19, put an end to an overnight manhunt involving officers from several law enforcement agencies.
Jasper Triplitt, 20, had last been seen shortly before sundown when he and a fellow rider had gone to round up stray cattle, according to the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office, but a call made to the emergency dispatch at 9:07 p.m. Sunday indicated the man had failed to return and could not be reached.
Sheriff’s deputies were joined by agents of the US Border Patrol, the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol and game wardens of the Texas Department of Parks & Wildlife with tracking dogs late Sunday in the overnight hunt for the missing rider on the property near FM 469.
Aerial surveillance by the DPS with a fixed-wing aircraft revealed on Monday morning that Triplitt’s horse was in a stock tank at a remote site on the ranch. Game wardens reached the horse by boat and discovered Triplitt submerged in the water.
Triplitt’s body was recovered at around 7:30 a.m. Monday.
“Preliminary indications are that he and his horse both drowned,” La Salle County Sheriff’s Investigator Homar Olivarez said on Monday. “The stock tank is large and measures approximately twelve feet in depth.”
Assistance in the search and to the recovery team was provided by Tijerina Towing with industrial-grade floodlights and the Double Deuce Ranch with aerial surveillance by drone.
Officers recovering Triplitt’s body have stated they do not believe the cowboy was the victim of foul play and have noted that Triplitt was dressed in full working gear, including boots and leather chaps.
“At present there is every indication that this was an accidental death,” Olivarez said. “People are going to ask what caused his horse to go into the water, whether it was spooked or whether Triplitt could not see the stock tank through the thick brush when he was riding towards it… We may not find answers to those questions.”
A ruling on Triplitt’s cause of death will be made by the Webb County Medical Examiner.
Triplitt was a 2019 Cotulla High School graduate and a repeat trophy winner in the La Salle County Junior Livestock Show from an early age in the 4-H and FFA organizations.