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14-year-old boy’s body recovered from Big Ditch

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, August 11, 2013, at 1:34 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, August 13, 2013, at 1:34 p.m.

The body of a 14-year-old boy, missing since Friday, was pulled from the Big Ditch on Sunday morning.

Police said the body was recovered just feet from where the boy disappeared in the turbulent floodwaters Friday.

“We have spent the last couple of days looking for the young man,” said Lt. Brian White, spokesman for the Wichita Police Department. “The floodwaters took him under. At 10:14, members of the Wichita Fire Department with Water Rescue at Station 4 located the young man and we were able to extract him from the water.”

White said the boy’s body had become entangled in brush about 10 to 15 feet off the bank and about 200 yards south of where he first went into the water, shortly after noon Friday.

The boy’s family, White said, “was very grateful for police and the fire department’s response when the young man was lost. I asked for assistance and we got countywide assistance. I want to thank everyone who came out and helped us. We searched the river several miles south of where he first went in – on foot, in the air and in watercraft. It was a pretty exhaustive search.”

The floodwaters in the Big Ditch began to recede Sunday morning and that’s what allowed spotters to see and recover his body, White said.

“It is a very traumatic loss for this family,” White said. “Obviously, those waters are still very treacherous and dangerous and we obviously clearly advise people to keep well away from them.”

More rains are in the forecast, with a chance of rain predicted each day through Wednesday.

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.

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