On July 2 at about 2:38 am, The Merced County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a missing person report. Deputies went to the area of the Cressey Bridge and Merced River in Ballico to contact the reporting party, Robert Apodoca.
It was reported that the missing person, identified as 37 year old Joshua Eugene Fox from Merced, was rafting with his friend on the river. They started floating down the river from the Shaffer Bridge on July 1, 2018 at about 3:00 pm and began consuming large amounts of alcohol.
During that time the two friends got separated somewhere between the Shaffer Bridge and Cressey Bridge.
Apodoca told deputies that after being separated from Fox, he began paddling his way upstream back towards Shaffer bridge. While doing so, his raft got a hole in it, and he had to walk the rest of the way back to Shaffer Bridge where his vehicle was located.
He got his vehicle, and drove to the Cressey Bridge with the hopes of meeting up with Fox. However, fox was nowhere to be found. At that point Apodoca called the Sheriff’s Office for help. The Merced County Sheriff’s Air Operation Unit was requested and after searching for about five minutes, located Joshua Fox stuck in the river a short distance from the Cressey Bridge.
With the assistance of the Air Operations Unit, Deputies were able to rescue Fox from the river and get him proper medical attention.