Chesterton Tribune

Missing teen's body believed found on Ogden Dunes Beach

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A body believed to be that of the Portage teen who disappeared while swimming at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on Sunday was recovered early this morning on Ogden Dunes Beach, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said.

At 4:45 a.m. Dean Christy, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, was walking the beach when he discovered the body, presumed to be that of Corey McFry, 15.

The Ogden Dunes and Portage police and fire departments, as well as Indiana Conservation Officer Bryce Klimek, responded to the scene.

Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris told the Chesterton Tribune at mid-morning today that he was waiting for a formal identification of the body but that he does believe that it’s that of McFry. No autopsy will be conducted, Harris said, and the cause of death will be listed as drowning.

Around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, McFry and three friends were swimming in four-foot waves off the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk site at the National Lakeshore, when he either stepped off, or was knocked off, a sandbar. He went under the water and then disappeared.

Two of McFry’s friends searched for him while the third swam to shore to call 911.

A massive search was immediately begun but water conditions were too rough to put divers in the water. Two helicopters, one provided by the Lake County Sheriff’s Police and the other by the U.S. Coast Guard, assisted.

The search was resumed on Monday, with boats deploying side-scan sonar, divers combing the bottom, and again helicopters circling in the air, the DNR said, but it was suspended at dusk.

“We have utilized personnel from many agencies in an attempt to make this recovery,” Indiana Conservation Officer Gene Davis said. “It’s amazing to see this cooperative response in a tragedy like this. Manpower from the state, county, and cities have all been involved, along with the U.S. Coast Guard in the early response.”

At the time McFry went missing, a rip-current advisory was in effect, due to strong north winds.

McFry would be the second person to drown at the National Lakeshore this summer. On June 18, Lionel Dominguez, 31, of Bronx, N.Y., was swept into Lake Michigan in Beverly Shores by strong southerly winds after the inflatable raft on which he was floating capsized.

Neither the Portage Lakefront site nor any Beverly Shores beach is guarded and, in fact, only one beach in the National Lakeshore is guarded: West Beach.



Posted 7/10/2012