The nearly month-long search for a missing teen has ended, sorrowfully. Officials have learned that the body that was discovered by a kayaker in the Yellow River over the weekend is that of the 14-year-old boy who went missing weeks ago.
Jaheem McGhee’s body was spotted Sunday around 4:30 p.m. in the river about 40 to 50 feet from the riverbank in an area between Bending River Trail and Stone Mountain Highway, according to Gwinnett County police. The Gwinnett County Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday said the boy drowned.
Jaheem’s grandfather, Daniel Knight, said his heart his breaking, according to Channel 2 Action News.
“I really didn’t think that we would find him in that river,” Knight said.
After days of searching the banks of the Yellow River himself, Knight had returned to Michigan last week, only to get the call Monday afternoon that he hoped would never come. His 14-year-old grandson’s body had been found in the river. The family had been hoping that McGhee had escaped the currents and had simply ran away.
Officers along with Gwinnett County Swift Water Rescue Team recovered the body about 7 p.m., spokesman Cpl. Deon Washington. Police have been searching for the missing 14-year-old boy since last month when he disappeared while crossing the Yellow River with some friends in Lilburn. Unfortunately, the teen’s friends had waited until the day after the boy vanished to report him missing, police said.
Jaheem had disappeared sometime on Nov. 19, but his friends waited until shortly before midnight the next day to report him missing, police said. It’s unclear why they waited 29 hours to report Jaheem missing. They had even slept overnight in a shed outside a home improvement store and went out to eat before telling an adult, according to Channel 2.
Jaheem’s grandfather wants the three teens questioned again. The teens have told police they were attempting to cross the Yellow River in a wooded section near Bending River Trail and Riverside Drive in pairs, police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera has said. Three friends made it across but Jaheem did not, Pihera has said.
The boy was last seen clutching a tree and two bags, according to a media report.
“The friends told police he was last seen being swept away down river,” Pihera said.
With the help of Gwinnett police K-9 and a helicopter, officers launched a search that Friday night and into the early morning hours of Saturday for the 120-pound, 5-feet, 5-inch tall boy, Pihera said. The search was resumed during the daylight Saturday morning with the help of a cadaver dog, she said. But when they could not find the boy’s body, they suspended the search.