Wade, N.C. — Search crews on Thursday found the body of an 18-year-old high school student who disappeared while swimming with friends in the Cape Fear River.
Witnesses said Dustin Turner went under water and never resurfaced Tuesday evening in an area off Old Bluff Church Road between Wade and Godwin.
Cumberland County sheriff's investigators believe an undercurrent pulled the Cape Fear High School senior beneath the water and drowned him.
His body was found floating in the river about a mile from where he went missing shortly before 2 p.m. – three hours before he would have graduated with classmates at Cumberland County Crown Coliseum.
Family members said Turner had planned to study heating and air conditioning at Fayetteville Technical Community College in the fall.
Classmates gathered at the river Thursday afternoon to pay their respects.
"It's sad to see a gap in the Cape Fear family now," said Chris Jones, 15. "Cape Fear is one big family."
"You remember the good times, and that's what keeps you motivated," 16-year-old Branson Hayes said. "You live your life in a way that he would be proud of, in a way that he'd want you to."
Turner's drowning is the third in the area in a week's time.
On Saturday, Justin Lee Harris, 19, of Erwin's body was recovered from the Cape Fear River Bridge after he drowned while fishing with friends.
On Sunday, Braxton Horton, 19, of Raleigh, died after being pulled underwater while swimming in Pine Knoll Shores.