Body of missing man found in car in the Cumberland

Posted at 9:13 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 22:13:39-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The body of a missing man was found inside his car in the Cumberland River Tuesday.

Bill Simmons, 57, went missing on June 15, 2020. When months past and Simmons couldn't be found, his family contacted a volunteer diver group who look for submerged vehicles. They're called Adventures with Purpose.

The group came to Nashville and looked for submerged vehicles throughout the Cumberland.

They found a vehicle near the boat launch on Lock Two Road in Pennington Bend. It was Bill Simmons vehicle.

AWP volunteers and others then tried to lift the vehicle from 17 feet deep in the water, to see what was inside.

"With the river coming up it does create more current," said Jared Leisek, a diver with AWP. "So, the further out that we are, the higher the river, it does create additional safety concerns for us. But our team, we've done over 60 of them in the past year and I think we've done more car retrievals of any team across the U.S."

It took several hours to bring the car out of the water and safely over to the boat launch. There, it was identified that Bill Simmons was inside the car.

"A lot of people ask about the closure and it's really never a closure for the family, it's about those answers to begin the healing process," said Sam Ginn, another diver on the team.

AWP is able to continue its volunteer mission through donations and views on its Youtube channel.

Leisek said the families of those they have helped often stay in contact once the recovery is over.

"We come in offering up our services for free, working with the family, crying with them side by side," said Leisek. "We're able to give them those answers. At the end of the day, it's like you become family and they do keep in touch with us."