"We ask that you respect both of these families," said the Oconee County Georgia Sherrif's Office

By Caitlin Keating
June 06, 2018 04:59 PM
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Credit: Kaleigh Elizabeth Grubbs/Facebook; Cameron Smith/Facebook

Two teens were found dead Tuesday after they went missing in a Georgia creek five days ago.

Oconee County Georgia Sherrif’s Office confirmed in a Facebook post that Bryant Wade and Cameron Smith, both 18, were discovered on Tuesday in Barber Creek within five minutes of each other and were roughly 50-75 yards apart.

“We ask that you respect both of these families. Recovery efforts are still under way for one of these young men. We will not provide any details at this time as to those efforts,” they wrote. “We truly appreciate of all of the emergency personnel from other locations who responded to assist in this effort as well as the overwhelming support from the community.”

On Friday, officials announced that one of the men had “apparently fell from the dam below from the old Puritan rope mill and the second young man attempted to rescue him.”

The officials added that the creek water was at “critically high levels due to the incessant rain,” and is dangerous not just for visitors, but for rescue crews.

Search efforts involving helicopters and drones continued for days. Volunteers set out in kayaks and walked the banks of the creeks and the nearby woods in search of the missing teens.

“K9s are being used to search. People are in the creek probing the creek bed with poles,” the police wrote in an update on Monday. “Divers have searched under dead falls. Divers have searched under the dam with a pole cam.”

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, families for both men were involved in the search and rescue.

“This is personal with the families,” Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry said at a press conference. “They want to feel like they’re doing something.”

The police also shared photos of volunteers efforts to reunite Wade and Smith back with their families.

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As time continued to pass with no progress, Chief Deputy Lee Weems of the sheriff’s office told WSB-TV that they were most likely not alive.

“It’s going to be a recovery, not a rescue, barring a miracle,” he said.

The Athens Banner-Herald reported that Terri Sheridan — who was acting as the spokesperson for the Smith family — said that Smith and a friend were visiting the creek when they heard someone shout that a person was drowning.

“Cameron told his friend to stay here and dial 911,” she told the newspaper. “He jumped in and never came up.”

Sheridan added that Smith was “working on a farm. He’s a country boy.”