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Lake Lanier crash victims' grandfather sold boat to suspect

12:30 PM, Jun 21, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Search resumes for teen in Lake Lanier boat crash

Video: Lake Lanier divers take search for missing teen to heart

  • The Prince family (clockwise from top left): Griffin, Ryan, Jake and father Michael
  • Courtesy of the Griffin and Jake Prince Memorial Page
  • One child was killed and another is missing after a boating accident on Lake Lanier Monday night.
  • Lake Lanier
    


REPORTER TRANSPARENCY LOG
transparency log
Paul Crawley's Log for June 20, 2012


BUFORD, Ga. -- The boat that took the life of at least one Buford boy on Lake Lanier was purchased from his family's boat dealership.

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The boy's grandfather Mike Prince, Sr. owns the Grass Shack in Buford. He told 11Alive News that he sold Paul J. Bennett the 2002 Sea Fox fishing boat involved in Monday night's crash on Lake Lanier. Prince said Bennett was a regular customer.

The 44-year-old Johns Creek hair salon owner was arrested early Tuesday morning and charged with Boating Under the Influence, then released on bond from the Hall County Jail.

"May justice prevail and this gentleman get what he deserves," Prince said Wednesday afternoon.

DNR spokesman Stephen Adams said Bennett may face additional charges including homicide, but investigators plan to collect and process more evidence in the case before charging him with anything else. That could take upwards of 30 days.

For now, the focus is on finding 13-year-old Griffin Prince, who has been missing since the crash.

His 9-year-old brother Jake Prince was killed and several relatives were hurt when their pontoon boat was hit at about 10:30 p.m. Monday, according to DNR spokesperson Melissa Cummings. The pontoon was operated by the boys' father Michael Prince, Jr. 

Wednesday morning, search crews combed the lake's shoreline for signs of the 13 year old. They launched their search boats from the Lanier Park area, near Buford Dam. The crash happened in the Shoal Creek area, between the dam and Lake Lanier Islands.

Divers from Hall, Forsyth and Gwinnett counties have been using sonar to scan the 100-feet-deep waters for Griffin Prince's body. The DNR's Critical Incident Reconstruction Team is also investigating.

In the meantime, Mike Prince, Sr. said the family is "holding on as best we can."

"Pray for my son and daughter-in law," he said. "They're going through a horrible loss. We're supposed to be burying parents and not burying children. This is just a tragedy. It's wrong."

Friends of the family have set up a Facebook memorial page for Griffin and Jake. Friends are encouraged to share thoughts, stories, pictures and videos of the Prince children. 

And according to Prince, Sr. the family is accepting donations through Wells Fargo. Gifts to the Jake and Griffin Memorial Fund can be made at any Wells Fargo branch.

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