Search for Lotus Drummer and His Son Now Recovery Effort, Band Says | Westword

Lotus Drummer and His Son Feared Dead in Kayaking Tragedy, Band Says

"While we are deeply grieving, we plan to celebrate Chuck and Charley's lives, our memories with them, and what they meant to so many people."
Chuck Morris
Chuck Morris @lotusinstagram
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Chuck Morris, percussionist for the Colorado-based jam band Lotus, disappeared with his son last week during a kayaking trip in Arkansas and is now presumed dead, the band says.

Morris, 47, and his twenty-year-old son, Charley, were paddling around Beaver Lake near Fayetteville on March 16 as part of a family spring break excursion before they both vanished, according to local police officials.

They went kayaking at about 11 a.m. that Thursday and were expected to return home around 2 p.m., a relative says. Authorities tell Westword that the weather was terrible that day.

"There were thunderstorms and high winds," says Lieutenant Shannon Jenkins, spokesperson for the Benton County Sheriff's Office. "At some point, it all started coming through while they were out on the lake. And it wasn't a great day to begin with."

According to Jenkins, deputies were able to recover one of the kayaks that the two were using later in the evening and the other on Friday morning, along with a jacket that one of them was wearing. Morris and Charley were described as being "pretty strong swimmers" by family members.

"They loved the water, the outdoors," Jenkins adds.

Lotus, which also has ties to Pennsylvania and regularly plays at Red Rocks, announced on March 17 through its social media platforms that the father and son were missing and that a search was being conducted. On Tuesday, March 21, those efforts turned into a recovery.

"We were all hoping for a miracle, but at this point, the search for Chuck and Charley has moved to a recovery," the band wrote. "With help from the K9 team, there is a probable location on the lake, but logistical challenges including temperature, weather, and depth have prevented a recovery thus far. It is unknown how long these efforts may take...Thank you to all who have reached out with fond words, stories, emotional and financial support."

High winds and below-freezing temperatures at the lake from Thursday to Friday were said to have hindered and delayed search efforts for Morris and Charley. Police officials told Westword that the recovery, which includes the use of sonar, would likely be "scaled back significantly" on Wednesday, March 22, if no progress was made Tuesday.

Jennifer Thompson — Morris's wife and Charley's mother — held out hope on Saturday, March 18, that they'd be found alive when speaking with local Fox affiliate KNWA.

"I'm just hoping that people pray in whatever way that means for them to bring our loved ones back to us. Chuck and Charley, the loves of my life,” Thompson said.

The band has directed its followers to support the Morris family through a GoFundMe.

Lotus is meant to begin a tour starting March 31 at the Resonate Suwannee Music Festival in Live Oak, Florida, with at least one stop in Rye, Colorado, for Sonic Bloom on June 16.

The band's members have yet to make any statements regarding changes to their upcoming schedule, but they did say online that they are planning to "celebrate" Morris and Charley in some way. There were no further details.

"While we are deeply grieving, we plan to celebrate Chuck and Charley's lives, our memories with them, and what they meant to so many people," Lotus said.

In a follow-up statement, Morris' bandmates honored him with kind words of their own.

"We spent over 20 years in a band with Chuc," said bassist Jesse Miller. "We lived together for parts of that, traveled the country and across oceans, felt the joy of performing in front of thousands of fans and pains of sleeping on floors and trying to repair a broken trailer in the middle of nowhere in a snowstorm. It was a journey, and it wouldn't have been the same without Chuck bringing his unique mind,energy, spirit and smile to it."

Guitarist and keyboard player Luke Miller said, “Chuck was a beast on percussion and in life. He brought an energy every night that fed so many peoples souls."

Fellow percussionist Mike Greenfield remembered Morris as his "drumming brother." He said: "Over the past few days, I have been listening to a few recent shows when Chuck and I explored rhythmic banter together in exciting and unhinged ways. The profound level of connection that we had could only be manifested through years of touring and living together. Over the past two decades, we have watched each other’s families grow. Chuck, you are a wonderful father and friend. I will always treasure our time together.”
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