Body of missing boy found in Meramec River

2012-08-07T18:00:00Z 2012-09-26T11:57:50Z Body of missing boy found in Meramec RiverBY JOEL CURRIER • > 314-340-8256

UPDATED at 7:23 p.m. with identification of body.

PACIFIC • Authorities said this evening they have identified a body found in the Meramec River as that of 12-year-old Christopher T. Marks, who disappeared here Sunday evening.

Police and firefighters have used boats and helicopters to search the area since Christopher, of Affton, was reported missing about 7:30 p.m. Sunday from an outing with his stepfather and some teenagers in the Pacific Palisades Conservation Area.

St. Louis County police said the body was near the Allenton Boat ramp.

Christopher was among seven teens at a barbecue in the conservation area with Marks' stepfather when the boy disappeared about 7:30 p.m. Relatives have said Christopher vanished after trying to persuade friends and siblings to try out a rope swing.

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch said the youths were drinking alcohol with an adult present but he would not say if it was Christopher's stepfather who provided it to the teens. He said they were looking into how Christopher got the alcohol. 

Christopher's sister, Katie Marks, 15, told reporters Monday her brother had some sips of beer.

Fitch said police will present the case to prosecutors for possible criminal charges.

"This investigation is far from over," Fitch said.

Chris' great uncle, Joe Burian of Sunset Hills, said Tuesday night that relatives called him to tell him Chris' stepfather, Todd Combs, found the body while searching the river on a jet ski near the Allenton river access point. Police confirmed those details. 

Combs could not be reached Tuesday. After the boy's body was found, relatives holding vigil at the conservation area declined comment.



Joel Currier covers breaking news for and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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