Local News

Search for teen swimmer now a recovery mission

Posted June 19, 2013
Updated June 20, 2013

— Cumberland County authorities searched along the banks and in rushing water Thursday morning for a 17-year-old swimmer who went missing Wednesday afternoon in Rockfish Creek.

Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, said Cameron Draughon, of Hope Mills, was swimming with two other people in the creek, off Rockfish and Muscat roads.

Someone on the bank tossed pizza at the swimmers about 4:30 p.m. Draughon dropped a slice in the water, went under to retrieve it and did not resurface.

Search crews were forced to halt their efforts shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday because of darkness and resumed Thursday morning what Tanna called a recovery mission.

"It just breaks my heart to watch," she said. "I hope that we have good news for this family, but as time goes on, that becomes less likely."

Three divers and a person operating sonar were in the water Thursday morning, Tanna said, as crews also searched along the creek banks. Complicating the search were undercurrents and a creek swollen by recent heavy rain.

Teen disappears in Rockfish Creek Teen disappears in Rockfish Creek

Meanwhile, family and friends, who did not want to talk to the media, gathered at the creek waiting for news.

"It hurts me right now to think that he's down there somewhere," said Richard Gee, who helped members of Draughon's family search for him.

"They were just hollering his name, 'Cameron, Cameron, Cameron,'" Gee said. "That's all we could do. They were crying. It was tough "

Draughon is a rising senior at Gray's Creek High School.

"I know he’s somewhere out there,” said classmate Thomas Skora, who joined others at the creek bank. “I’m just trying to keep hope and pray. It’s all you can do.”

“It’s very shocking," another classmate, Dennis Cromartie, said. "It was really a surprise. It’s sad and scary, too.”

The water search is the second this month for Cumberland County authorities.

On June 6, crews found the body of 18-year-old Dustin Turner who, two days earlier, went under water in the Cape Fear River and never resurfaced.

His body was recovered three hours before he was set to graduate from Cape Fear High School.


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  • ncsislamesauce Jun 20, 2013

    Was alcohol involved?

  • Scubagirl Jun 20, 2013

    Very sad. Condolences to his family and friends....so young

  • MitziGaynor Jun 20, 2013

    Made my heart sink yesterday hearing he was missing.

    Prayers for the family and friends.

  • Obamacare forever Jun 20, 2013

    UreapwhatUsow, who are you to tell me what I can or can't think? Anytime someone dies there exists the possibility the person was murdered.

  • barbstillkickin Jun 20, 2013

    When I see the mother on tv hoping that her son is still out there it makes me cry. I feel so sorry for the family and I know the pain is so deep for them. Please Pray for the family to have the strength to get through these tough times. Remember God has a reason for everything.

  • diana123 Jun 20, 2013

    didn't wear a life jacket.

  • UreapwhatUsow Jun 20, 2013

    wow, Ok, you are analyzing this way to much, they were playing around, he fell in, 'nuff said.....shame on anyone who tries to make this any more than that....it's teenage goofing off, they are all grieving, and clinging to a thread of hope, keep them in prayer, and keep your suspicions in your sick minds.

  • chrisnrali Jun 20, 2013

    closure is a silly myth.

  • Obamacare forever Jun 20, 2013

    Breaking News: The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office says search crews have recovered the body of Cameron Draughon, 17, a Hope Mills teen who went missing Wednesday afternoon while swimming in Rockfish Creek.

    RIP young man.

  • marciamal1 Jun 20, 2013

    It's always so sad to hear of these teen drownings - I really don't think it was a wise idea to go in and retrieve a piece of pizza - (I'm wondering if he knew how to swim) - Lately, the teens that have been involved with drownings - shouldn't have been near the water in the first place - My thoughts and prayers go out to him for a safe return and are with his family.