[StBernard] Girl's body found in Lake Borgne

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Wed Jul 20 01:25:57 EDT 2011

Girl's body found in Lake Borgne

By Suzanne Le Breton
St. Tammany News
The body of a 12-year-old Mandeville girl was pulled from the waters of Lake
Borgne Tuesday morning

Personnel from several agencies had been looking for Samantha Vinturella
since she thrown from a boat when it collided with another boat Saturday.

Family members and friends hoped and prayed for a miracle while search teams
realistically dredged the bottom of the lake searching for the teen's body.

Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents responded to a call Saturday
that a 20-foot boat operated by Marion Funchess, 61, of Folsom had collided
with a 15-foot boat operated by Paul Battle, 48, of Mandeville in the Shell
Beach Bayou.

Four juveniles, Vinturella, her sister, and two cousins, were with Battle at
the time and all four were thrown from the boat.

According to Wildlife and Fisheries, Battle was not ejected from the boat,
but was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Funchess and an adult
passenger aboard his boat did not receive any major injuries.

Vinturella's body was found approximately 5 to 6 miles from the crash site.

She was not wearing a personal flotation device.

Personnel with LDWF, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, New Orleans Police
Department, Louisiana State Police, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Plaquemines
parishes Sheriff's Offices have been searching during daylight hours and as
weather permitted since Saturday for Vinturella.

All means of locating the body, including helicopters, small planes, sonar
technology, divers, cadaver dogs and dredges were used as family members
hoped for the best while preparing for the worse.

According to LDWF Enforcement Division Col. Winton Vidrine, LDWF will be the
lead investigating agency for this boating crash incident to determine a
cause of the collision and death. Vinturella's body will be turned over to
the St. Tammany Coroner's Office, where an autopsy will be performed.

Our Lady of the Lake Church in Mandeville will host a memorial Mass Tuesday
evening at 5:15 p.m. Vinturella was going into the seventh grade at Our Lady
of the Lake School.

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