PACIFIC, Mo. (KMOV.com) –Authorities said they have suspended a part of their search for a 12-year-old Affton boy who went missing in the Meramec River while on a family picnic in Pacific.
Police said during a press conference Tuesday there was still no sign of 12-year-old Christopher Marks, who 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.
Police said they have 122 units, including helicopters, divers and K-9s, have intensely searched for Marks since he went missing, but nothing has turned up.
“At this point we’ve suspended the search for Christopher because we feel comfortable that we’ve searched everywhere humanly to find him,” said St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch. “At this point we don’t have any other information to believe that this is anything other than what we believe to be an accidental drowning.
Fitch said he believes police have used enough resources the search and decided to scale it back.
“We feel like we’ve done everything we could do in this vicinity,” he said.
Fitch said while divers and ground crews would suspend their search Tuesday night, all investigations would still continue.
“Is it possible he could have gotten out of the water somewhere? Is it possible? Yes we know that,” he said. “We just haven’t had any luck finding him.”
Officials said eight teenagers, Marks and his stepdad were 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 initially 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 were at the scene 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.
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.