Local News

Body of missing Wayne County teen found off Emerald Isle, Coast Guard says

Posted June 13

The body of a Wayne County teen who went missing while swimming at Emerald Isle on Saturday has been found two days after the search for him was suspended, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Officials said two teenagers, ages 16 and 17, were caught in a rip current on Saturday afternoon. The 16-year-old, identified as Tyreese Worsley, was found and brought to the shore by a surfer.

Tyresse Worsley

In a news conference on Tuesday, Emerald Isle officials identified the 17-year-old as Elijah Hinnant. Authorities said a woman standing on her deck spotted Hinnant's body just before 8 a.m., floating about 1,500 meters offshore.

Elijah Hinnant

Hinnant was supposed to begin his junior year at Eastern Wayne High School in the fall.

"It's a child that, you know, Friday he was here taking an exam and then Saturday he was gone, so it's really hard," said Principal Lee Johnson. "When the news broke this morning, we were aware of it, but the finality of it was very hard."

Johnson said Hinnant was a on the junior varsity football team, popular with fellow students and well-liked by teachers.

"It's hard when you lose anyone you care about, but for a child so young and just beginning their life, it's so tragic and you know we've walked around with very heavy hearts the last few days," Johnson said.

During the search, the Coast Guard covered about 129 square nautical miles and searched for the teen over 25 hours after he went missing, according to previous reports.

Coast Guard suspends search for teen off Emerald Isle

Around 6 p.m. on Saturday, someone on the Bogue Inlet Pier spotted two teens caught in a rip current and called for help.

A life guard was not on duty in this area, but an orange flag warned swimmers about rip currents.

Authorities said Worsley is still listed in critical condition at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

A graduation ceremony was held at East Wayne High School on Tuesday and a moment of silence was held for Hinnant and a teacher who died earlier in the year.

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