Aspiring Model, 16, Drowns in Mo. River: 'She Was a Rock Star,' Says Dad

Kara Wrice had reportedly appeared in an ad campaign for Famous Footwear

Kara Wrice
Kara Wrice. Photo: GoFundMe

A 16-year-old Missouri high school student with dreams of pursuing a modeling career in New York City drowned at a local park on Friday, according to a GoFundMe and local reports.

Kara Wrice, a rising junior at Webster Groves High School, died on Friday at Castlewood State Park in Ballwin.

"She is so loved by everyone who knows her and could make absolutely anyone smile," a friend wrote on a GoFundMe page raising money for a scholarship fund in her honor. "She is such an amazing kindhearted person who deserves the world. It's so heartbreaking to see someone so incredible have their life cut so short."

Kara's father Karl Wrice told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his daughter had been drinking at the park with a friend when she went under in the Meramec River and did not resurface.

"She was a straight-A student. She was also a teenager who made a very not-good decision," he said. "She had got my personality; she was a rock star. She didn't have an enemy — very extroverted. She left a large footprint — many people have reached out to me since."

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An incident report posted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol said Kara was swimming in the river when she was caught in a current and brought under the surface.

Kara was embracing a career as a model, and signed to the St. Louis-based agency Mother Model Management after they discovered her at a concert in 2018, according to a Facebook tribute shared by the agency.

She'd reportedly been featured in a Famous Footwear ad campaign.

"She instantly became an integral part of our Mother Model family. The other girls adored her and they are crushed by this tragic loss," the post said. "We are heartbroken. Devastated. She was cherished... We KNEW she was destined for great things, inside and outside of the modeling world."

Mary Clarke, co-owner of Mother Model Management, told CBS affiliate KMOV that Kara had an "effervescent quality about her," and was often the one to welcome new faces and make them feel comfortable.

"We knew that by next summer, we'd be launching her into the fashion world at a higher level, but that doesn't get to happen now," Clarke said.

In addition to modeling, Kara also played volleyball at school and on a local club team, and was a lifeguard, according to the Post-Dispatch.

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