LaGrange man drowns at DeSoto State Park

Published 5:00 pm Monday, August 1, 2022

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A LaGrange man died in a tragic accident at DeSoto State Park in Fort Payne, Alabama on Saturday.

LaGrange native Riley Pearce, 31, drowned, according to Tim Wilson of the DeKalb County Coroner’s Office.

According to Josh Hughes, superintendent of the DeSoto State Park, a call was received at 11:45 a.m. saying that there was a male subject who was actively drowning in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall below the foliage.

“He was here with a group that was doing some rappelling and climbing. They were rappelling from the top of the falls down into the pool below and then using ropes to go back up to the top,” Hughes said.

A Go Fund Me page has been created to support Riley’s wife, Anna. As of 5 p.m. Monday, more than $14,000 had been raised.

“Riley was one of a kind. If you knew him, you knew his goofy faces, and his ability to constantly make you laugh,” wrote the GoFundMe organizer Miki Manning. “He was an incredible athlete (caver, climber, white water kayaker, and crossfitter). He was also one of the kindest people I knew despite his sometimes hard exterior. He and Anna had been together since high school and dealt with many tragedies together. She will need our love and support more now than ever. So if you are able, please donate. Thank you.”

To donate, visit