Sheriff releases new details involving man found dead in pond

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STONEWALL, Okla. (KXII) -- It was a tragic start to the new year for one family as Pontotoc County deputies searched for Colton Pennington, 20, before locating his body in a lake near Stonewall.

Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian says nothing indicates foul play, but he does suspect drugs were involved.

Christian said if a medical examiner determines Colton had drugs in his system, charges could be filed against whoever gave them to him.

"We had extremes that night and the morning so that exacerbated the situation in my opinion," Christian said.

Christian says Pennington's body could have been under water for more than 10 hours before his body was found.

He said Pennington was at a party with friends before he went missing around 3 a.m. Monday.

"When he didn't return for a little while, the other friends there at the party went and looked for him," Christian said, "[they] couldn't find him, determined that possibly he had used his cell phone to call somebody to come and pick him up."

Partygoers didn't report Pennington missing.

In fact, it wasn't until 11:30 a.m., several hours later, that Colton's father called the sheriff's office and reported him missing.

Deputies began searching for Pennington shortly after.

A Stonewall man later found Pennington's clothes and cell phone close to an oil field near County Road 3630.

"Just before dark, one of the searchers found some footprints in the ice out on a pond, and then saw where it appeared the footprints led to a hole in the ice," Christian said.

Christian says although they cannot confirm the cause of Pennington's death yet, he has a warning for young adults when partying.

"Whether it's alcohol or illicit drugs or whatever it may be, there's consequences to that," He said, "you need to be aware of that and be prepared that those consequences could lead to death."

Christian said this is still an active investigation and they're waiting for a report from the medical examiners office.

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