Richmond teen's body found in James River

By Jola Szubielski - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHARLES CITY, VA (WWBT) - A tragic end to a search for a teen missing in the James River. 16-year-old Roosevelt Ross disappeared Thursday during a swim. Search crews in Charles City County made the sad discovery about 12:30 Friday.

The family is absolutely heartbroken but they say they've found comfort in the very place Ross was found.

Looking out at the calm waters of the James River, it's hard to believe 16 year old Roosevelt Ross, or JR as family called him, died here. Flowers and balloons are in the Franklin Military Academy student's memory and the life that was cut too short.

"Even though he's not with us, he was full of joy, he was the baby," said sister Claudette Minnicks.

His father recalls very different waters Thursday. He says it was high tide and the current was moving much faster.

He had taken his two sons on a day fishing trip and tells us JR waded in at the shoreline for a swim.  But eventually he grew tired, the current taking him under. His brother tried to help, but it wasn't until Friday afternoon that recovery crews and dive teams found his body - finally bringing some closure to this family who had until that moment hoped for a miracle.

"I just pray that for my mom and father that God can comfort their hearts. I loved, loved my brother and I know how I feel as his sister but I can't imagine how his parents feel," said Minnicks.

But with the reality of what happened still so fresh, some family members and friends have another concern. They say the warning sign is barely visible and was partially hidden by these trees.

They can't help but wonder if maybe this tragedy could've been avoided and want to make sure it never happens again.

"You cannot see the sign, and the sign should be a little big bigger," said family member Alonzo Copper. "The sign should be sitting over there so if someone walks down here they know not to go over there and go swimming and it should be posted better than that."

The County Administrator says they are saddened by the tragedy and will be reviewing the placement of this sign and determine if there's a need for additional signage.

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