UPDATE (3:38 p.m. Thursday): Authorities have released the names of the two men whose bodies were recovered Tuesday from Lake Bardwell. The deceased are identified as Richard Ly, 61, of Arlington, Texas, and Van Cao, 47, also of Arlington. The two men were co-workers, Justice of the Peace Steve Egan told the Sun. Egan, who was called to the scene and pronounced the men deceased at 2:50 p.m. Tuesday, had ordered the bodies to be taken to the Dallas County medical examiner’s office. He said the cause of death for Cao was accidental drowning, with the cause of death for Ly still pending as of Thursday afternoon.
On Tuesday, the Sun had reported that a trip to Lake Bardwell on Monday had ended in what authorities said appeared to be an accident. The Waxahachie Fire Department’s dive team was called out to the lake Tuesday afternoon to assist in the recovery of two deceased persons from the water.
Game warden Jeff Powell said authorities were notified about the two missing individuals by an employee with J&B Grocery Store in Bardwell. Powell said the two were regulars at the store and would always get breakfast and tackle before heading out to the lake.
“They didn’t come back that night,” Powell said. “[The clerk] came back the next morning and their truck was still there. That is what prompted the clerk to call law enforcement.”
After running the vehicle’s license plate, Powell said he and a sheriff’s deputy went to the lake and were flagged down by a resident who had spotted something in the water. Powell used his binoculars and the deputy launched a drone, which confirmed two individuals in the water.
Footage from the drone showed the bodies about 200 yards apart from each other, Powell said, noting that the boat the two individuals used at the time had not been located as of Tuesday evening. The two individuals were not wearing life jackets at the time, he said.
There is no indication of foul play, Powell said, noting that it “looks like a tragic accident.”
Waxahachie Fire Chief Randall Potter said mutual aid was requested by a sheriff’s deputy at about 12:50 p.m. Tuesday, saying that a dive team was needed to assist in the recovery of the two bodies.
The dive team was activated and dispatched to Lake Bardwell. Upon arrival, firefighters launched their boat and recovered the bodies from the craft.
A post on the fire department’s Facebook page said the operation went through with no complications or firefighter injuries. The post also noted that the department was being purposely vague on details until family members could be notified. The department asked for prayers for everyone involved.
Both bodies were sent to the Dallas County medical examiner’s office for an autopsy and to determine the cause of death.
People with information about the incident can contact Powell at the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office at 972-825-4901.