Brooksville, Florida - While helping the Hernando Sheriff's Office, Pasco Sheriff's deputies dredging the lake at Sherman Hills Golf Course find the body of 43-year-old David Voiles.
"He's a member of the National Guard, served his country. He's a loss to the community," says Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis.
Hernando deputies say Voiles had been working at Sherman Hills Golf course for two years, diving in lakes and retrieving golf balls. He knew the lakes well enough that he posted photos on his Facebook page of the alligators that dwelled in them.
According to deputies, Voiles last spoke to his mother around 1 p.m. on Monday and was last seen around 3 p.m., when he was diving into a lake across from the club house.
But the gators are not responsible for his death. Deputies say his drowning appears to be an accident, caused by either a medical condition or equipment failure. Deputies found Voiles' body in less than eight feet of water.
In November, Voiles received a Citizen's Appreciation Award from the Hernando Sheriff's Office for saving a woman's life. According to deputies, a motorist drove her car into a canal, and Voiles jumped in, pulled her out, and rescued her from downing.
"[He was a] good soldier, a good NCO," says Staff Sgt. Timothy Long with the Florida Army National Guard. A spokesperson says Staff Sergeant Voiles served 20 years in the US Army. He earned a purple heart after surviving an IED attack in Iraq. He was currently a member of the Florida Army National Guard 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, where he is missed.
"His openness, his dedication to his job, to the people around him," says Long. "He supported his church, he supported his family. The unit is going to miss him."
The Medical Examiner's office will do an autopsy to determine the official cause of death. Voiles' family has asked for their privacy.
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