Kokosing River K-9 units

A K-9 unit searches the Kokosing River near Honey Run Park on Wednesday afternoon. Several K-9 units were deployed in an effort to find a 15-year-old Columbus boy who went missing in the river Tuesday afternoon.

BUTLER TOWNSHIP – After a second day of searching Wednesday, rescue teams were still unable to locate the 15-year-old boy who went missing in the Kokosing River on Tuesday afternoon.

Personnel from the Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District, Fredericktown Community Fire District, Walhonding Valley Fire District, Dellroy Community Fire Department, Christian Aid Ministries Search and Rescue, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources spent 11 hours searching for the missing teenager from Columbus on Wednesday, Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer said in a press release.

Boats, divers and K-9 units were used to scour the Kokosing River near Honey Run Park, but to no avail. Rescue teams were forced to suspend the search due to darkness.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office will evaluate its search plan Thursday morning, as rain is forecast. Rain could potentially cause safety issues for search crews, Shaffer explained, so the decision of when and how to resume the search will be made with that in mind.

This marks the second straight night where rescue teams have been forced to suspend their search for the boy who went missing Tuesday just after 3 p.m. Crews searched for five hours Tuesday night before halting.

A call came into the Knox County Dispatch Center Tuesday afternoon concerning a boy who had gone missing while swimming near Honey Run Park. The initial call was made by a stranger, as the father of the boy and one of the boy’s friends were trying to find him in the river.

The father eventually got on the phone and gave an account of what had just happened.

“He was swimming with his friend. They got separated just below the falls, where the river narrows,” he told dispatch. “I was swimming after them, but I don’t have my glasses on… the boy who was swimming with him said he was trying to pull up, but he couldn’t.”

The last time the boy was seen, he was in the water. He was wearing a blue swimsuit, his father said. The boy's father told dispatch people had stopped by the park to help search.

Boat crews and divers from Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District, Fredericktown Community Fire District and Coshocton County initially responded to the call and searched the area, but could not find the boy by sundown. Additional rescue agencies were called in on the second day of the search.

Dive teams and local law enforcement agencies set up at Caves Campground on Wednesday for the day-long effort. With a calm river and clear skies at their disposal, rescue teams deployed numerous boats, using K-9 units and sonar systems to scour the murky water.

Search dogs were heard barking on several occasions Wednesday afternoon, and an ambulance rushed out of the campground around 2:55 p.m., although the boy was never found.

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Staff Reporter

Grant is a 2018 graduate of Ohio Northern University, where he studied journalism and played basketball. He likes coffee, books and minor league baseball. He loves telling stories and has a passion for local news.