Body found is likely that of teen drowning victim |

Body found is likely that of teen drowning victim

Tribune News Service

TRUCKEE – Officials believe they have located the body of Justin Garrick, who is believed to have drowned in a boating accident at Boca Reservoir on June 26.

Meanwhile, authorities continued searching Donner Lake on Monday for the body of a 15-year-old Sacramento boy who is presumed dead.

Just before noon on Monday, a boater found a body floating in the reservoir and called the sheriff’s department. While the identity of the body has not been determined, the physical description and clothing match 17-year-old Garrick, according to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department.

The boaters put a flotation device on the body to keep it afloat until the Truckee Fire Department arrived at the reservoir with a boat and recovered the body. Nevada County sheriff’s deputies arrived later and took over the recovery operation.

The body showed signs of an impact, according to the sheriff’s department, which may affirm eyewitness reports that Garrick was struck by the side of the wakeboard boat before drowning.

The county coroner will determine the identity and cause of death.

Garrick’s family, who had assembled their own search efforts since he disappeared, was at the scene. Tambara Garrick, Justin’s cousin, said his body was found near a buoy that marked the area where he had disappeared.

Although the discovery of the body was tough on the family, they are glad to have a sense of closure in the accident, said Tambara Garrick.

Justin Garrick had just finished wakeboarding with a group of his friends on June 26, and was seated at the front of the boat when the craft took a hard left turn and hit a wake at the same time. Garrick, who had lent the life jacket to the teenager wakeboarding behind the boat, was thrown from the boat and never seen alive again.

In the Donner Lake incident, the teen jumped off a pontoon boat at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday to recover his hat, which had fallen into the lake, said Truckee police Lt. Dan Johnston.

The teen, whose name has not been released by police, got into trouble as he began swimming back to the boat, Johnston said. The boy’s 23-year-old cousin attempted a rescue but was unsuccessful.

Police believe the boy’s body now rests nearly 180 feet deep in the lake. Divers are not able to drop that deep without specialized equipment, Johnston said.

“It’s too deep,” he said. “It’s pitch black down there.”

One diver, who rose too quickly from deep waters, began bleeding from his face because of the quick decompression, he said.

Searchers are now relying heavily on a Yuba County boat, with sophisticated sonar equipment, that is slowly scanning the bottom of the lake. A professor from the University of Nevada, Reno, has donated a remote-controlled camera that can send up video of the lake bottom, said Johnston.

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