Tonganoxie man drowns Sunday at WyCo Lake
A trip to Wyandotte County Lake Sunday night ended in tragedy for family and friends of a Tonganoxie man.
According to the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Department, Dennis “Denny” Robbins Jr., 41, had been fishing along the shore in a horseshoe-shaped cove area of the lake normally used for Boy Scouts. Robbins was with his longtime girlfriend, Angel Collins, her son, daughter, son-in-law and her two grandchildren, when a fishing wire got snagged across the lake. Robbins entered the lake to try to unsnag the wire himself, thinking it would be only waist-high all the way across, but mistook the depth of the lake about mid-cove, where he dropped and began struggling to remain afloat.
Lt. Kelli Bailiff, with the Sheriff’s Department, said while Robbins knew how to swim, he wasn’t expecting the drop.
“And we think that panic started setting in,” Bailiff said.
Bailiff said Robbins’ girlfriend and her family could see him flailing about in the water and yelled across to him to swim on his back, but Robbins couldn’t recover from the drop. Collins’ son and son-in-law, both in their 20s, dove into the water in an attempt to save Robbins, but were unable to find him through what Bailiff said was probably a combination of the water itself not being clear and through their own panic.
Robbins’ family called 9-1-1 about 10 minutes to 8 p.m., Bailiff said, and Robbins’ body was recovered by law enforcement and fire personnel on boats about an hour-and-a-half later in an area of the lake that was approximately 40-feet deep.
“He was brought to the shore and they did attempt to do everything possible that they could to try to help him, but to no avail,” Bailiff said.
Autopsy results have not been released yet, but Bailiff said the cause of death appeared to be accidental drowning.
Robbins was a 1988 graduate of Basehor-Linwood High School and his only sibling, Lesa Salazar, said her brother had just gotten full-time work at Best Brands Corp. in Bonner Springs about three weeks ago. Formerly, he had worked with Salazar’s husband doing construction work, Salazar said.
“He loved to sing, he was really big into choir and the musical plays and stuff like that in high school,” Salazar said of her brother. “He had a big heart. He loved to help out his family wherever he could, whatever he could.”
A celebration of Robbins’ life will be at 11 a.m. today, May 12, at Glad Tidings Assembly of God, 1315 N. 64th St., Kansas City, Kan.
• A full obituary for Denny Robbins can be found on page 31.