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Body of Duluth 'Deeps' drowning victim found in lake

Jefferson Bowen

The St. Louis County Search and Rescue Squad recovered a body in Lake Superior on Sunday afternoon identified as Jefferson Bowen Jr., a 13-year-old Duluth boy who was swept away by a current while swimming in the rain-swollen Amity Creek on Tuesday afternoon.

A recreational boater reported a body in the water at 1:37 p.m. Sunday.

Search craft responded and successfully retrieved the floating body about a quarter-mile from land and about 1.8 miles up the shore from the mouth of the Lester River. Amity Creek joins the Lester River below the Superior Street Bridge in Lester Park before flowing into Lake Superior.

More than 100 people participated in the five-day search for the missing boy, said Capt. Tom Crossmon of the St. Louis County Search and Rescue Squad.

Sunday's search of the lake involved one boat and two aircraft from the U.S. Coast Guard, two boats from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and one boat from the St. Louis County Search and Rescue Squad.

Meanwhile, crews and divers also continued to search the Amity Creek swimming hole, known as the Deeps, where Bowen was seen by friends before being pulled under by current about 4 p.m. Tuesday. The popular diving spot has been the scene of several accidents.

Others assisting in the search included the Minnesota National Guard, the Douglas County Dive Team, the Duluth Fire Department and the Lake County and Carlton County sheriff's departments.

Although the recovery effort proved lengthy, Crossmon said, "I would not have changed our search tactics one bit."

Even as it became clear that everyone was involved in a recovery rather than a rescue mission, Crossmon said people never lost their sense of urgency.

"The bottom line is that even when you're not looking at a rescue situation anymore, there's still someone's loved one that you're looking for," he said. "Every night when I laid down, I asked myself: What would I think if it was my kid?"