Future searches for 15-year-old boy in Knox County river not planned unless more evidence found

(Courtesy: Narayan Darnal's family)
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KNOX COUNTY, Ohio – Future organized searches for a 15-year-old boy in a Knox County river are not planned unless more evidence is found, according to the sheriff's office.

Authorities said the search is now a recovery mission.

Deputies responded to the Kokosing River in the area of Honey Run Park just before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday for a report of a missing teenager.

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Sheriff Dave Shaffer said crews looked for 15-year-old Narayan “Pirtam” Darnal of Columbus for nearly 5 hours before suspending the search Tuesday night.

Crews searched for him Wednesday and Thursday with no luck.

There is a large tree that is partially submerged in the area where the teenager was last seen.

Crews had difficulty searching the water because of underwater rock formations, crevices, low visibility, and river currents.

Darnal, who the family says attended Wooden Park Middle School off Karl Road, was with his father, friends and his teacher when he went under the water.

The family tells 10TV the teen did not know how to swim.

The teacher called 911 telling dispatchers, "He was swimming with his friend and they got separated just below the falls where the river narrows. I was swimming with him but I don't have my glasses on."

Dive teams used sonar and cadaver dogs in the search for the teen.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which assisted in the search, says recent storms have made the river deceptive because the surface current makes the river look calm but, underneath, it's much faster.

Lieutenant Dawn Roberts tells 10TV the river also can be deceptive in other ways. Drop-offs go from two feet deep to 11-feet deep and the water temperature is about 65 degrees.

Roberts warned people who are looking to take a break from the heat to never go into the water unprepared.

"I will always stress life jackets. They will always save lives. Don't leave them in your boat, don't leave them in your car, please, please wear them," she said.

Last week, crews recovered the body of a man, Mark Booth of Mount Vernon, not far from Tuesday’s scene after he was reported missing in the Kokosing River.