Aunt of man found in water near Washington waterfront boat dock speaks out

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) – The aunt of a man whose body was found floating near a dock here in the east is now talking to WITN.

Lexa McMicken remembers hearing the news Monday about her nephew Gary Upton Jr.

“Oh gosh,” Lexa said. “Just total shock.”

It was that day that officers and fire crews were called around 6:30 a.m. to Washington’s boat docks. First responders said they found 54-year-old Gary Upton Jr. in the water. Police said he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lexa is now reminiscing on the last time she saw Upton and the impact he left behind.

“He hugged me like four times that night while we were together and told me he loved me and he was praying for me and when he got ready to go he hugged me and went about 10 or 12 feet and came back and said I need to hug you one more time, and I said it was almost like he sensed that was gonna be our last time,” Lexa said.

Losing Upton was not the only tragedy she faced this year.

In February, human remains were found in a car pulled out of a creek in Washington. Police are confident those remains belonged to three missing men, though it has not been officially confirmed. David McMicken was one of the men who were last seen in a bar in Chocowinity back in 1982.

“With regards to Jacks Creek, we’re still waiting for DNA results to come back from the medical examiner’s office and that’s a long process,” Police Chief Phil Rollinson said.

David was also Lexa’s stepson and although she never got the chance to meet him, she says the loss still was a shock.

“It had been 40 years and you know after 40 years you don’t expect it to ever happen,” Lexa said.

Now, Lexa said she is on the long road to healing after losing two loved ones to tragedy.

“One day at a time,” Lexa said. “It’s all you can do.”