Bodies of Conn. Teens Found in River 4 Days After Going Missing During Swim: 'Horrible Tragedy'
Authorities think Anthony Nagore, 17, and Lucas Brewer, 15, went for a swim in the Farmington River before they disappeared on Thursday
A summer day at a Connecticut river took a fatal turn for two teenagers after their bodies were found in the rocky waters four days after they were reported missing, authorities said.
The victims were identified as Lucas Brewer, 15, and Anthony Nagore, 17, in a press release from the Environmental Conservation Police of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
Brewer attended Plainville High School, Plainville Community Schools Superintendent Steve LePage confirmed in a letter to families on Friday. Nagore was visiting family in the town, according to NBC affiliate WVIT.
The teens were first reported missing by their families on Thursday night after they both failed to return home, DEEP officials said.
Their car was later discovered by authorities in Avon near the Farmington River, and their personal belongings — including their cell phones, sneakers and clothing — were also nearby, the press release stated.
A search was immediately launched for the teens but stopped around midnight on Thursday. It resumed on Friday morning but came to a halt around 3:30 p.m. when thunderstorms swept through the area, according to police.
Search efforts picked back up on Saturday and Sunday mornings but were paused before noon each day due to the "dangerous water conditions," the release stated.
It wasn't until Monday that officials said they were able to locate the teens' bodies floating "in close proximity to each other on the river," approximately a mile from where they are believed to have entered the water for a swim.
At this time, it is unclear if the cause and manner of death for the boys have been determined. The Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
In the wake of the tragic discovery, loved ones paid tribute to the teens by holding a vigil near the scene, according to The Hartford Courant.
A spokesman for the Brewer family attended the vigil and read a statement from his brother.
"Grief never ends, but it changes," the statement read, according to the Courant. "It's a passage not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness and not a lack of faith but it is a great price of love."
Lucy Lopez, whose daughter Theresa attended Plainville High with Brewer, and Michelle Ibitz, whose daughter knew the boys, both told the Courant that the incident is a heartbreaking reminder of how precious life is.
"In summer you're supposed to enjoy yourself and I'm just thinking they were enjoying themselves as good friends and trying to have fun," Lopez told the outlet.
"So for a kid to say, 'Mom, I'm going to go to do this,' it's like 'OK. You've done it a million times,'" added Ibitz. "And unfortunately with the way the weather was and with the water flowing, it was that one unfortunate event."
Capt. Keith Williams of DEEP's EnCon Police was also at the scene of the vigil, where he urged residents to avoid entering the water, especially after the recent rainfall.
"It is very dangerous to be out there," Williams said, per the Courant. "We are asking everybody that recreates not just on this river but any body of water in the state of Connecticut that's swollen right now because of the rain, please stay off the water. We don't want another incident like this to happen. This is a very unfortunate situation. The river level is very dangerous, it's going to continue to rise throughout the next couple of days, so conditions are going to get even worse."
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On Tuesday, a GoFundMe page was set up for the family of Brewer, who was remembered as "the sweetest boy with the most infectious smile." So far, it has raised over $23,000.
"As many of you may know, this small town of Plainville has been struck with the horrible tragedy of losing the sweetest boy with the most infectious smile, Lucas Brewer," organizers wrote. "He was an amazing son, brother, grandson, nephew and friend."
"No parent should ever have to bury their child and this is something that most people do not prepare for," organizers added. "Please find it in your heart to donate so this family can put their angel to rest and have a proper burial. The family appreciates all of you for everything you have done thus far."
Those interested in donating to the Brewer family's GoFundMe page can do so here.