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Body recovered of missing teen swimmer in Castlewood State Park

Body recovered of missing teen swimmer in Castlewood State Park

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15-year-old goes missing in Castlewood State Park

Two young women react as they learn that a 15-year-old girl has gone missing on Friday, July 2, 2021, inside Castlewood State Park. She reportedly went underwater in the Meramec River and was not seen to re-emerge. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

Updated with additional details at 9:30 p.m.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY — Searchers recovered the body late Friday of a teenage girl who went underwater in the Meramec River in Castlewood State Park on Friday afternoon and never resurfaced, the Missouri Highway Patrol said.

Multiple law enforcement and rescue agencies searched for hours and the park was closed to the public after the teen was reported missing shortly after 3 p.m., St. Louis County Police spokeswoman Sgt. Tracy Panus said.

The girl was at the site with a group of other people when she was reported missing after swimming, Panus said.

Heavy rainfall during the past week has caused area waterways to rise, Panus said, adding to the need for swimmers to take extra precautions, such as wearing life jackets.

“When the water is up, the entire dynamic of the water changes out there, the currents and everything. You can be the strongest swimmer and it doesn’t matter,” Panus said.

Metro West Fire Protection District, St. Louis County police, High Ridge Fire Protection District, the Missouri Highway Patrol and other agencies participated in the search.

Friday’s drowning adds to a deadly toll in state and local waterways over the past several weeks. At least 17 people drowned or died in boating accidents in Missouri in June. That’s more than in any previous June in the last decade. At least two of those deaths occurred in St. Louis County parks, where swimming is prohibited.

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