Woman charged with BUI in connection to drowning on Lake Wylie

- A woman has been arrested and charged with boating under the influence in connection to a drowning at Lake Wylie, according to the SC Dept. of Natural Resources.

Cynthia Averitt has been charged with a BUI and was booked in the York Co. jail.

Wednesday night, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources responded to a call about 9:08 p.m. reporting a missing man on Lake Wylie. By mid-morning Thursday the body of Kenneth Varnadore was found not far from where he went under water.  Family describing Varnadore as someone who loved being on the water.

"He called me yesterday. He wanted me to go on the boat with him. I told him I couldn't. I had to go to work. The last time I talked to him was yesterday morning. We talked for about 30 minutes. He told me he loved me and we'd go this weekend,” Beronica Bollicks said.

Investigators tell FOX 46 Charlotte, Varnadore went out on a pontoon boat Wednesday with a group of people, one of them being Cynthia Averitt, the woman now facing boating under the influence charges.

While many details are still unclear, SCDNR tells FOX 46 Charlotte, they are still investigating whether he jumped off the boat, or perhaps fell off the boat but they say they do know  Averitt reportedly took over the wheel.

"We know he was in the water, then of course he disappeared.  So there are a lot of holes but we are trying to investigate now," 1st Sergeant Jason Plemmons said.

Beronica Bollicks, Varnadore's cousin, fighting back tears said the two shared a special bond.

"He wasn't just my cousin, he was my brother. He was just outgoing, loved to have fun. We come from a close nit family. So it's really hard.""

SCDNR is now working to try to piece together what led to this tragedy. ‘Averitt is sitting behind bars in York County. Her B.U.I charge is a misdemeanor in South Carolina and will face some possible jail time and pay $470 fine.

SCDNR is asking for anyone that may have seen anything to come forward to help move the investigation along. Also, they cannot stress enough the importance of wearing a life jacket when you are out on the water.

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