August 4, 2008

Search Resumes for Boy Presumed Drowned in Indiana

By Robert Mitchum, Chicago Tribune

Aug. 4--Authorities resumed their search Monday morning for a 13-year-old Chicago boy who presumably drowned Saturday while swimming at a Lake Michigan beach in Indiana.

Indiana State Police and officers from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources searched the area of Porter Beach, near Indiana Dunes State Park, where Raphael Palomar disappeared Saturday afternoon, said IDNR Lt. Jerry Shepherd. Though severe weather delayed the search, officials planned to use boats, helicopters and all-terrain vehicles to search the beach and lake for the boy's body, Shepherd said.

"All it is, is waiting to see when the body comes up and trying to be there when it does," Shepherd said.

Shepherd expected the body to be spotted and recovered sometime Monday afternoon or Tuesday.

Palomar was last seen about 1:20 p.m. Saturday, when he and his younger brother were swimming with family members in 3- to 5-foot waves in the waters off Porter Beach, said IDNR Conservation Officer Gene Davis.

Bystanders pulled the 10-year-old brother from the water but were unable to reach the older boy, Davis said. Heavy rip currents were reported, and swimmers were also being kept out of the water at the time at the neighboring Indiana Dunes, Davis said.

"His parents were there," Davis said. "They were on the beach. He was in the water with a group of about five people--family and friends. The oldest was about 20 years old. In all, there were about 25 people in the water. The beach was never closed, but there were signs saying there were dangerous riptides."

Lake Michigan was too rough to put divers in the water immediately after the incident, but improved conditions allowed divers to begin searching at 6 a.m. Sunday.

Palomar is the second beachgoer to disappear from the Indiana lakefront this summer, Shepherd said. In July, DaVante Jackson, 14, of Chicago Heights was pulled under the lake by a rip current off Kemil Beach, 12 miles northwest of Porter Beach. Jackson's body was recovered three days after he disappeared.

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