SPRAY -- Cody Watson, 16, of Monmouth, died while swimming on Sunday according to the Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies from the Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office were called to the John Day River about eight miles west of Spray at noon on reports that a 16-year-old male had disappeared beneath the surface of the river while swimming with friends.
WCSO deputies, Wheeler County Search and Rescue, Wheeler County Fire and Rescue, the Oregon State Police and members of the Spray Fire and Ambulance departments searched extensively without success. Approximately two hours after the search began, members from the Grant County Fast Water Rescue team responded to help.
Watson’s body was recovered near milepost 82 on Highway 19/207 at 9:50 this morning.
The WCSO said the initial investigation suggested the drowning was accidental.
Watson's family released the following statement earlier this afternoon:
"While we are grateful for the community support and concern, we would appreciate some space to grieve and make necessary arrangements at this time.
In regards to a vigil, we are not discouraging any gathering in Cody's memory, however in order to allow for more close family and friends to attend, the official vigil for Cody Watson will be held at the CHS football field tomorrow night, June 28th, at 9:00 pm."
A celebration of life service will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at Panther Stadium.
A gofundme page has been set up to help pay for body transport and funeral costs.