Family mourns loss of Bellbrook High student recovered from river

BELLBROOK, Ohio (WDTN) – The family of the teen whose body was recovered from the Little Miami River say they’re thankful they finally have closure.

Seventeen-year-old D’James Moore was found in 12 feet of water by rescue divers after a two day search.

Emotions ran high on the shoreline Wednesday afternoon as teams from several fire departments combed the waters.

“My nephew is still missing. My sister is still grieving because they have not found her son, yet,” Moore’s aunt Michelle Winston said.

“Everyone is picking up like nothing matters. But my nephew, he matters. “

Witnesses say Moore and a group of teens were rope swinging in the Little Miami River, Tuesday, when Moore tried to walk across the water carrying a backpack and went under.

Friends jumped in the water to help him, but he never came back up.

Rescue teams found his body around 1pm, today. Moore was found about 15 yards from where he was last seen.

Sugarcreek Township Fire Department Chief Jeff Leaming said the river’s rushing currents may have contributed to Moore’s death.

“It seems like its level across but underneath there’s all kinds of dynamics that change the current and holes develop and deep spots develop,” Leaming said.

“So he may have stepped into one of those and wasn’t prepared.”

Rescue teams began their search around 8pm Tuesday, stopping around 11:30pm when it conditions became too dangerous.

The search began again around 7:30am Wednesday.

Leaming said Moore’s brother told him, his brother was familiar with the area and frequently visited the riverside with friends.

“I would make every assumption that this individual felt that he could walk across the river because he’d done it before,” Leaming said.

“And he may have stepped into an area that he never dealt with before; Stepped into a hole and wasn’t prepared to go in over his head.”

Winston said the family is feeling a lot of mixed emotions but they’re glad his body was recovered.

“In spite of all the everything else that went on, we’re glad we have closure,” she said. “That is him. And I’d like to thank everybody that was involved.”

Winston said the teen would have been a senior at Bellbrook High School, this fall.

“He was a very happy fun person,” she said. “Loved his family. He was just a happy going kid. Seventeen.

Leaming said he advises anyone in or around the Little Miami River to take precaution.

“If you get into that water you need to have a life vest on or a personal flotation device,” he said.

“It’s unsafe to be on this river without a life vest. Or even near the river.”

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