Crews resume search for missing man in Cape Fear River
Posted June 4, 2013
Updated June 5, 2013
Godwin, N.C. — The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office resumed searching Wednesday for a man missing in the Cape Fear River in Godwin.
Dustin Turner, 18, disappeared in the water Tuesday night near 4100 Old Bluff Church Road. His uncle, Mike Leal, said Turner was swimming with friends about 6 p.m. when he got into trouble in the water.
"One of them even jumped back in the water to see if they could find him, but they couldn't," said Ronnie Turner, another of teen's uncles.
Turner was set to graduate from Cape Fear High School on Thursday, Leal said. He planned to study heating and air conditioning at Fayetteville Technical Community College in the fall.
"He was too tickled about graduating – you know how youngins are," the teen's aunt, Regina Turner, said. "They just get set on one thing and they have to do that first and then decide what else they want to do."
Dustin Turner took every agriculture class at school. He works on cars.
He expressed interest in search and rescue, too, just like the crews on the river searching for him now.
Cape Fear Principal Lee Spruill said he felt success in Dustin Turner's handshake.
"You know, you can tell a lot about a man by his handshake," he said. "You can tell a lot about this kid with his handshake."
Family members said Turner liked to play at the river.
"He wasn't scared of it, that's for sure. He loved it. He loved to come down here and play and cut to fool," Regina Turner said. She said he had been raised in Wade and "didn't see (anything) wrong with the river."
Steven Turner, Dustin's brother, echoed the sentiment.
"We was all pretty much raised by the river," he said. "We took him down there when he was 5 years old, and he out-fished every one of us."
The search was called off about 9 p.m. Tuesday because of darkness, but resumed Wednesday morning, deputies said.
"So there's not a very long distance of where our divers can even see, probably the distance of their hand in front of them," Cumberland County sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Tanna said.
"I know the longer it takes to find them, the worse it's going to be," Regina Turner said.
The search ended about 7 p.m. Wednesday. Tanna said crews will begin searching again about 8 a.m. Thursday.
In Harnett County on Saturday, a 19-year-old Erwin man drowned while swimming in the river.
Authorities said Justin Lee Harris was fishing with three friends near the Cape Fear River Bridge on N.C. Highway 217 when they decided to swim across the river. Harris went under and did not resurface. His body was recovered later that day.
Harris' death was the second drowning in the state last weekend.
A 19-year-old East Carolina University student died Sunday after being pulled underwater while swimming in Pine Knoll Shores.
Braxton Horton, of Raleigh, got caught in a rip current and drowned shortly after 4:30 p.m., authorities said. His body was found several hours later at a beach access point on the west end of Pine Knoll Shores.