published Monday, September 23rd, 2013

UPDATE: Body of second missing boy found

Chief Bobby Dodd updates media about finding the body of the second child reported missing Sunday at South Chickamauga Creek.
Chief Bobby Dodd updates media about finding the body of the second child reported missing Sunday at South Chickamauga Creek.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
  • photo
    Police officers monitor traffic on the bridge on Lightfoot Mill Road as the search continues for two boys who went missing while swimming in the Chickamauga Creek on Monday in Chattanooga, Tenn.
    Photo by Maura Friedman /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Chattanooga police officials said the body of the second boy missing since Sunday was found this afternoon.

Earlier in the day, the body of the first of the missing boys was discovered about 100 yards from where he entered Chickamauga Creek.

More than 75 law enforcement officers have been searching for the boys.

Kentory Ray, 11, and Thomas Ruffin, 11, reportedly went into the water as two other boys looked on. The pair were both students at Tyner Middle Academy.

One of the boys had already stripped himself of his shorts and shirt before getting into the water.

“And there was some horse play. We don’t know if they were pushing and shoving each other and the one that planned to go in water was going to make him go with him or what,” Dodd said. “One actually went in and the other was actually pulled in. It was probably accidental that the second kid went in.”

One of the boys knew how to swim. The other did not. One boy immediately went under water and never came back up. The second boy was seen going under a little further down the creek, Dodd said.

The other two boys ran back to get help.

The water is about 8 feet deep where the boys entered. To enter the water from Cromwell Apartments, the boys had to go down a steep bank.

Kentory, who had recently moved into the apartments, would often tell his mother that he was going to play at “the lake.”

She would correct him and say, ‘It’s not a lake. It’s a creek.’

Trails and fishing spots dot the creek, but it was never intended as swimming spot for recreational use.

“It’s not appropriate for swimming at all. When you get down there, the foliage on both sides is really dense,” Dodd said. “When the first officers got down there yesterday afternoon, there were snakes sliding in off the banks. Snakes are really active down there.”

On Saturday, rain soaked the area over about a 10-hour period. The water was up and moving swiftly in certain sections.

Officers were contacted at about 4:30 p.m. Divers with Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and Hamilton County STARS got into the water an hour later. Dive teams pulled out at 4:30 a.m. and re-entered the water at about 8 this morning, Dodd said.

A foot search was completed Sunday night. Officers switched over to a grid search marking a five-mile radius of the area where the boys went in. Officers were stationed at bridges and other points throughout the night in hopes of spotting the boys.

For more on this story, read Tuesday’s Times Free Press.

Chattanooga SWAT departs in a foot search of the area from the command point at the corner of Camellia Dr. and Cromwell Rd. as the search continues for two boys who went missing while swimming in the Chickamauga Creek on Sunday in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Chattanooga SWAT departs in a foot search of the area from the command point at the corner of Camellia Dr. and Cromwell Rd. as the search continues for two boys who went missing while swimming in the Chickamauga Creek on Sunday in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Photo by Maura Friedman.

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