UPDATE | Amerson family is grateful for community support

Published: Nov. 22, 2017 at 5:39 AM EST
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Thursday, May 31, 2018

(News 12 at 6 O’Clock)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Amersons wanted us to know drugs contributed to Jonathan’s death but didn't want us to go into the types of drugs. We respected their wishes.

They say it hurts to hear now, but they hope some good can come to others struggling with an addiction.

“No one spent more time on the face of this planet with that man than me. To have him gone for such a senseless cause, it hurts. It stings to this day," one of his brothers tells News 12 in an emotional interview.

Jonathan Amerson's autopsy opens old wounds but provides a final answer to his brothers Robby and Kristopher. Besides drowning, a mix of drugs in his system also contributed to his death. That comes as a surprise to his brothers.

“You can ask anybody that knew him -- the Jonathan that was in the woods that day was not the brother I knew. He was not the brother I grew up with. He loved football, he loved hunting, he loved fishing and he loved his family,” said Kristopher Amerson.

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office says opioid cases and responses have risen in the past year, and it’s a problem that continues to rise across the county.

Robby says Jonathan had his struggles, but now they hope his loss will save someone else's life.

"So many people go through troubles in life and through addiction,” Robby told our Ben Billmyer. “They don't realize that they need help until it's too late. We're going to take this negative and turn it into a positive for all families."

Kristopher himself has battled with addiction, and he has a message for anyone else who may be out there struggling alongside him.

“You can do it. I promise you. I've been through more than most people have ever seen."

Kristopher goes on to say addicts have to realize that people out there love them, even if it feels like there’s no one left.

Robby runs the Southeastern Veterans Hunt, so he says anyone in need of help can reach out to them on Facebook. The two also mentioned the new Drew Cato Foundation as another alternative for folks looking to get help.

Both brothers also took time to once again thank the large turnout of support from the community during the search back in November, and for the support, they're still receiving.

11:20 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- After months, the autopsy results for Jonathan Amerson has been released.

The coroner says Amerson drowned, but he also had drugs in his system that contributed to his death.

Amerson went missing last year while hunting in Phinizy Swamp.

We spoke to his family Thursday morning.

"The Amerson family does not want the results of Jonathan's autopsy to be viewed negatively. If it helps any one person or family suffering from addiction, then we want people to know that there's help out there. The results hurt, but there were contributing factors to our brother's death. All we want there to be is a positive result for anyone else struggling with this addiction and to seek help."

Friday, Nov. 24, 2017

ATLANTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Richmond County Chief Deputy Coroner Kenneth Boose says the autopsy on 31-year-old Jonathan Amerson has been completed at the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta.

The results of the autopsy are inconclusive and are pending toxicology as well as cell and tissue tests.

Medical examiners are not ruling out that Amerson could have died from natural causes, and are still looking to pinpoint an exact cause of death.

Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017

2:00 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Georgia DNR confirms that the body of missing hunter, 31-year-old Jonathan Amerson, has been found near Phinizy Swamp.

Amerson's body was found within the search area around 1 p.m. Chief Deputy Coroner Kenneth Boose says Amerson was pronounced dead at 1:50 p.m. and his body is being sent to the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta for an autopsy.

Additional details are not yet available. We will continue to follow this story.

11:00 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A missing hunter that investigators are searching the Phinizy Swamp area for has been identified as 31-year-old Jonathan Amerson.

According to a post from family members on the CSRA Hunting Club page, they last heard from Amerson at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. Amerson was reportedly duck hunting.

Dozens of volunteers showed up Tuesday to look for Amerson, and dispatchers say the search will continue. Additional resources will be brought in to find Amerson.

We're still awaiting more information from law enforcement. Follow continuous up to the second updates below.

4:30 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Richmond County dispatchers confirm deputies are searching the Phinizy Swamp area for a missing hunter.

In addition to law enforcement, dozens of volunteers showed up to help, according to a Facebook Post on the CSRA Hunting Club.

According to a post from family members on that page, they say they last heard from the man at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning.

We're awaiting more information from law enforcement.

Dispatchers say the search will continue later this morning, and additional resources will be brought in.

Continuous News Updates:

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