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Two Joplin Men Suspected of Drowning at Strip Pit


Cherokee County authorities began searching area strip pits Tuesday night for two Joplin men, after their families reported they didn't return home following a day of fishing.

Around 1:00 a.m. early Wednesday morning, a Cherokee County Deputy Sheriff located the vehicle they had been in at Mined Wildlife Land #40, northwest of Columbus, near Northwest 70th and StarValley Road.

The bodies of 70-year-old Robert Sleep and 71-year-old Stephen LeMasters were both recovered from the water.

The initial investigation indicates both men fell through ice and drowned.

Although no foul play is suspected, autopsies will be conducted in Kansas City.

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