San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

SLIDESHOW: Tubers, kayakers and swimmers enjoy the San Marcos River between San Marcos and Martindale in June 2013. PHOTO GALLERY by PATRICK LEWIS


by BRAD ROLLINS

MARTINDALE — The body of a 20-year-old man was pulled from the San Marcos River east of San Marcos on Sunday, a day after he went missing while tubing with a group of friends.

Tychicus Foston, a Lake Jackson area resident, appears to have died from drowning, said game warden Joan Garza-Mayberry, who is investigating the death because it occurred on a state-owned waterway.

At about 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Forton disappeared in the river near Martindale after leaving a flotilla that had embarked earlier in the afternoon from Texas State Tubes, 101 River Park Dr. in Martindale. Divers recovered his body at about 1:30 p.m. Aug. 10 in eight feet of water near where he was last seen alive, Garza-Mayberry said.

Foston’s friend told investigators that he was a “proficient swimmer.” Witness accounts suggest he was drinking prior to leaving his tube to swim, the game warden said, and alcohol seems likely to have played a role in his death.

“I don’t know that as a fact. I have to wait for the toxicology” report, said Garza-Mayberry, who ordered an autopsy that includes screening for intoxicants in Foston’s blood.

Tube traffic downstream of San Marcos’ city limits has increased significantly since 2012, the first summer a city ordinance outlawing disposable containers went into effect on the Guadalupe and Comal rivers in New Braunfels.

In March, a Comal County state district judge ruled that the “can ban” violates the state constitution but not before two new tube outfitters, Texas State Tubes and Cool River Ranch, set up shop on the San Marcos hoping to capture a piece of the region’s water recreation business. They joined Don’s Fish Camp, which has rented tubes and run shuttles since 2006.

During the summertime, the game warden said she spends about 80 percent of her time policing underage drinking, disorderly conduct and other illegal behavior on the river’s stretch that forms Caldwell County’s southern boundary. As far as she knows, no one has conducted a headcount of tubers, but Garza-Mayberry estimates more than a thousand people during warmer months float the river near Martindale.

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