A missing 59-year-old Clay County man was found dead Thursday morning.

David Lee Box was found in about two feet of water near where his car had been found a week earlier, Sheriff Eddie Scott said.

He was found by a West Point firefighter who was a member of the regional emergency response team made up of firefighters from West Point, Columbus and Starkville.

Box had been missing since about 1 a.m. New Year’s Day.

First responders mounted a large search effort Thursday to scour flooded areas along Bill Dexter Road in what is known as McLemore Bottom between Lake Grove and Lake Lillie roads in the northern part of the county.

The area often is flooded along Houlka and Chuquatonchee creeks and their tributaries. Those high waters had made it difficult, even with boats and drones, for volunteers and rescue workers to get into some areas along the creeks.

But waters had receded by Thursday, allowing better access. Scott said the water where Box was found would have been six feet deep when Box got stranded.

The sheriff said it appears Box’s 2014 Dodge Avenger got stranded. Investigators think Box got disoriented in the darkness and fell into the water.

An autopsy is being performed.

Box was last seen at about 1 a.m. Jan. 1 leaving a residence to go to a relative’s home.

He never showed up, but friends didn’t get too worried because of the holidays. When he hadn’t been seen by the morning of Jan. 2, his wife, Emma, called the Sheriff’s Department, which began searching for him and his car.

His 2014 Dodge Avenger was found on a gravel road in a flooded area in McLemore Bottom.

The area often is flooded, especially at this time of year.