Autopsy: Drowning ruled cause of 12-year-old boy’s death

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by KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on August 9, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 6:35 PM

CLAYTON, Mo.—An autopsy has determined that a St. Louis County boy found dead in the Meramec River drowned.

The body of 12-year-old Christopher Marks of Affton was recovered Tuesday afternoon about six miles downstream from where a search began. He had been missing since Sunday while on an outing with relatives in a conservation area.

St. Louis County Police spokesman Rick Eckhard announced the autopsy results on Thursday.

Police have said Christopher and other youths had been drinking with an adult present. Police say they are investigating whether Christopher’s stepfather provided alcohol, or if alcohol contributed to his disappearance and death.

Toxicology results are still pending.

Officials said eight teenagers, Christopher and his stepdad was on a day trip to bar-b-cue at the park Sunday around 7:30 p.m.

The boy told his stepfather he was going to go swing on a rope on the other side of the river.

Chris’ sister, Katie, says he was standing in the water about waist deep and a few feet away from the current.

“It’s pretty strong, you can get out of it if you try really hard and Chris was getting out of it,” said Katie Marks.

But a few moments later she realized he was gone.

Dive teams assembled Monday morning around 9 a.m. and searched where dogs had tracked Marks’ scent on the edge of the river. Police were also using sonar equipment to aid in the search.

The family said Marks, who was a Boy Scout, had a few sips of beer Sunday night but still should have been able to handle the river’s strong current.

“One drink of beer’s not going to get you drunk, so I mean he was fine and he told me he felt kind of hyper and wanted to go jump off the swing,” his sister, Katie Marks, said at the time.

The family said Marks was the youngest of the group at the river,

Combs said Marks was going to be a seventh-grader at Rogers Middle School in the fall. He had two sisters, one of them a twin.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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