Divers search Meramec River for missing 12-year-old boy in Pacific

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by Emily Rau / News 4 and KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on August 6, 2012 at 5:05 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 6:35 PM

Pacific Palisades Conservation Area

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PACIFIC, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Diving teams will resume their search in and around the Meramec River Tuesday morning for a 12-year-old Affton boy who went missing while on a family picnic in Pacific.

Christopher T. Marks, 12, was last seen Sunday evening in the Pacific Palisades Conservation Area, in the 18800 block of Franklin Road. That’s located just three miles southwest of Six Flags.

Officials said eight teenagers, Christopher and his stepdad was on a day trip to bar-b-cue at the park 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.

Marks was last seen wearing a blue or black shorts and no shirt.  He is approximately 5’4” tall, weighs 130 pound and has brown hair and a medium complexion.

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 is 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,” said Katie Marks.

Several of Marks’ relatives arrived at the scene Monday night and stayed there Tuesday morning. The relatives included his mother, Elizabeth Combs, his uncle, a great-aunt and uncle and family friends.

The family said Marks was the youngest of the group at the river, which included him, eight teenagers and Combs’ husband.

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

She said she set up her own search party and holding on to hope Chris will come back.

“I really wish you’d tease me right now and pop out of the woods and tell me it’s all a joke,” Combs said.

Rescue teams will have to cease their search efforts until early Tuesday morning due to darkness.  Cadaver dogs are expected to help with the search 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

A $5,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can locate the 12-year-old. Anyone who sees him or has information on his whereabouts is asked to call 911 or call St. Louis County Police at (314) 615-5360.

 

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