Search continues for teenager missing in river

Madison County, Idaho – The search continues Wednesday for a 14-year-old Utah boy who disappeared in the Teton River in Idaho while swimming Sunday afternoon.

Justin Grass was with his cousins near the Teton Dam around 2:55 p.m. when he went under the water. Law enforcement officials say they are doing everything they can to recover his body.

“We’ve had people in the water all week and drones in the air trying to find any sign of Justin,” Madison County Sheriff Chief Deputy Bart Quayle tells EastIdahoNews.com. “We continue to run the river up and down and we’re hoping to get a plane overhead to see if anything can be seen from the air. Sadly this has turned into a recovery effort ”

Quayle says Justin was with two cousins, one from Utah and one from Sugar City, when they jumped in the river and attempted to swim across to walk up the spillway of the dam.

“The first boy jumped in and he’s swimming with the current. Justin then jumps in and the third boy follows,” Quayle says. “When the third boy gets to the other side before Justin, he realizes Justin is struggling and jumps back in to help.”

Quayle says Justin was trying to swim straight across the river, and the third boy told him to swim with the current.

“At this point they’re in faster water. The third boy swims back to the side and is able to run along the bank and talk with Justin,” Quayle says. “But (the third boy) had to climb over some rocks and at that point he lost site of Justin.”

The two cousins then hiked about 40 minutes to a point where they could get cell phone reception and call for help.

Emergency crews have been combing the river since Sunday afternoon and water levels dropped around 8-9 inches Tuesday in the search area. The water still remains very deep and heavy debris has been challenging for responders.

“We plan to move further downstream and hope to find Justin very soon,” Quayle says. “It’s just a sad deal. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”