Family of missing fisherman found in Lake Russell raises money for SCDNR equipment, proposes new law

ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) –

It’s been a year, almost to the day, Mitchell Gibson’s family was told their brother, husband, father and son was missing.

Mitchell Gibson was found nearly 140 feet below water in Lake Russell using a sonar boat. Now they’re raising money to provide the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources with the same equipment that found Mitchell Gibson.

He was missing for seven months before The Ralston’s found him using their sonar boat. Kelly Johnson, with the help of volunteer and fundraising, got the married couple to travel to the Upstate to help with the search.

“That boy lived to fish and hunt, his favorite place was the woods or the water,” Kelly Johnson, Mitchell’s sister said.

His family said he died doing what he loved. The family has invested time, effort, planning and money into finding their brother. Saturday evening, Johnson put together an Oyster Roast with help from the community to raise money for the same equipment she had to pay for to find her own brother.

“I made them a promise, Week 2 to get them some better equipment, I made that promise week two and I kept my promise,” Johnson said.

In the midst of being devastated by her own brother’s disappearance, she and the family were thinking of how to better the lives of future families in a similar position.

“I think it’s going to lead me in the right direction knowing I’ve helped that next family and knowing that I’m not, when I hear it on the news, they’re not waiting seven months,” Johnson said. “The need is not every day, but for the family at the time, it’s everything.”

The family’s ambition to help others doesn’t stop with providing sonar equipment to SCDNR. Angie Gibson, Mitchell’s mother, said they plan to create a new law for commercial fisherman.

“We talked to a senator, he’s also an attorney, where we get a law to where when these bait fishermen go out night, there will be two on the boat. There aren’t a lot of lights, he was alone and if one person had been on that boat, it would have made a difference,” Gibson said.

“Everyone came together today, and we’re going to be blessed and DNR is going to be blessed, and in the end our whole area will be blessed for what they can do for us,” Johnson said.

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