The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

May 24, 2013

Youth believed to have drowned

Authorities search for body in Kingfisher’s Uncle John Creek

KINGFISHER, Okla. — The recovery of the body of 17-year-old last seen jumping into Uncle John Creek Thursday was ongoing Friday afternoon.

Kingfisher Police Chief Dennis Baker said several teens were jumping Thursday from the dam into the creek, which was swollen by heavy rainfall from the previous few days. One of the teens jumped in but did not resurface. Baker said authorities were contacted at about 7:25 p.m. Thursday and searched for the boy into the night.

Baker said the boy’s name was not being released, pending notification of his family.

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol dive team searched for the teen Thursday night. An aerial search of the creek from a helicopter yielded no results Friday morning, nor did a search by cadaver dogs. A water rescue team from Edmond was expected to join the search Friday afternoon.

Baker said Friday the water level of the creek had lowered since the previous night.

Kingfisher had been in a flash flood warning Thursday morning, and Uncle John Creek has been swollen by rainfall from a series of thunderstorms during the week.

Generators with search lights used to search into the night were parked along bends in the creek Friday. Police officers and other emergency personnel were stationed at points downstream.

The teen went missing in the same area where nearly six years ago a 15-year-old Kingfisher boy drowned.

The body of Jesse Taylor was recovered following a three-day search in June 2007 by firefighters, emergency personnel and volunteers. Taylor had been jumping from a suspension bridge that crossed the creek.

Signs have been posted on both ends of the bridge that state “No Swimming” and a memorial to Taylor is along the bank of the creek near the bridge, but it does not explain how he died.

Baker said the boys were not jumping from the bridge, but were jumping from the dam in the creek, below the bridge. Kingfisher Police Department has asked the public to avoid going to the park and the bridge during the search for the 17-year-old.

“Please remain away from the areas so that rescue equipment can get in and out and the efforts won’t be hampered,” states a post on Kingfisher Police Department’s Facebook page. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to this family during this difficult time.”

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