By Jesse Wood
Aug. 6, 2013. Last night, a 14-year-old boy from Grandfather Home for Children was found deceased below the spillway of the Mill Pond in Banner Elk, according to Banner Elk Police Chief Byron Clawson.
At 7:15 p.m. Clawson said his office received a report of a missing juvenile and responded to the scene where the boy was last seen. The 14-year-old boy was a part of a group of three other boys with a “house parent” hiking and swimming near the dam.
After receiving the missing persons report, Clawson said a call was made to the Avery County Swift Water Rescue and Banner Elk Police Department. Also, the Avery County Sheriff’s Office and Sugar Mountain, Seven Devils and Lees-McRae College police departments assisted in the search.
Clawson said the body was discovered submerged in the river at 7:30 p.m. Clawson added that the house parent “lost sight of the boys for just seconds” and searched for the 14-year-old boy before calling for help.
“It’s not anything unusual. Grandfather Home had done the same thing before,” Clawson said, referring to the outing on the river. “Unfortunately, tragedy struck last night.”
Because the teen is a minor, his name is being withheld.
The teen’s body will be autopsied at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem at 1 p.m. Before the autopsy results come back, Clawson said he wouldn’t give an official statement as to the cause of the death.
“There are several other points we are looking into and it’s still under investigation,” Clawson said. “We are open to all information.”