Teen identified as person found dead after Great Miami River search

First responders searched during weekend before body recovered Sunday afternoon.

MIDDLETOWN — A teen who went missing Friday night at the Great Miami River between Franklin and Middletown has been identified as the person found dead Sunday after a two-day search, according to city officials.

Justin Lewis Jr., 19, was identified Monday afternoon following an autopsy by the Butler County Coroner’s Office. The cause of death for Lewis was drowning, but his manner of death remains pending and under investigation.

The Middletown Division of Fire and Acting Police Chief Andy Warrick said Monday morning they were awaiting positive identification. Officers were called to 4401 N. Verity Parkway about 3 p.m. for a report of body located in the river.

Middletown Police detective Kristi Hughes is continuing to investigate Lewis’ death.

Rescue workers searched the Great Miami River late Friday night through the weekend near the Germantown Road bridge on a report a person was in the water.

Three boats from Middletown and Monroe rescue searched around 1 a.m. up and down the river for the person. A drone from Trenton police and a helicopter from the Ohio State Highway Patrol also assisted in the search.

The search then resumed Saturday morning and continued through the day and into Sunday.

The police department posted a social media message on behalf of the fire department during the search. It asked people to stay out of the Miami River Park (4401 N. Verity Parkway) area. Members of the public had dropped off food and water for first responders during the search.

“They are very appreciative for those of you that have dropped off food and water but are asking that those be redirected to Fire Headquarters,” the post said.

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