A grim discovery on Wednesday marked the end of a multi-day search for a teenager who had vanished along the frigid banks of the Haw River after a foot chase with police officers.
According to the office of Alamance County’s sheriff, the body of 19-year-old Antwain Demar McDaniel was ultimately found in Travis Creek nearly four days after he and three companions had scattered in an attempt to evade members of Elon’s municipal police.
Byron Tucker, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, broke the news about this tragic find shortly after 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
“Just got word that the body recovered in Travis Creek is that of Atwain Demar McDaniel,” Tucker acknowledged in his email announcement. “The medical examiner arrived on scene and approved transport at approximately 6:10 p.m. The family has been notified.”
McDaniel had last been spotted alive in the small hours on Sunday when he and three other teens fled before members of Elon’s police force who had identified them as suspects in recent series of vehicle break-ins.
According to the sheriff’s office, the four teenagers ultimately got into a car chase with the police officers, who pursued them into a residential subdivision off of NC 87. The suspects eventually crashed into an embankment along Robinhood Drive – at which point they jettisoned their vehicle and attempted to flee from the officers on foot.
The pursuing officers soon managed to catch up with one of the suspects, who has since been identified as Eddie Rogers, Jr. an 18-year-old black male who hails from 3922 North Church Street in Greensboro. According to the sheriff’s office, Rogers has been charged with six felony counts of breaking and entering a motor vehicle and is currently in Alamance County’s jail under a $450,000 bond.
According to the sheriff’s office, three of Rogers’ alleged accomplices were able to give their pursuers the slip. One of these individuals has been identified as 19-year-old Ke’Monte Jikelin Crosby while the other is a juvenile under the age of 18 whose name hasn’t been publicly revealed due to his age. The sheriff’s office believes that both of these suspects returned home after their run-in with the Elon police department. Crosby is nevertheless wanted on the same six counts that have been lodged against Rogers, while a juvenile petition has been filed against the youngest member of the quartet.
In the meantime, no one appears to have seen hide or hair of McDaniel since he managed to evade the Elon police officers on Sunday.
During a news conference on Wednesday morning, Tucker acknowledged that local law enforcement officials have grown increasingly concerned for McDaniel’s well being since his disappearance into the wilds of Alamance County.
“We have reason to believe that he may be in or near the Haw River,” Tucker explained during a news conference on Wednesday. “There are no charges against him right now. At this point, we are more focused on finding him.”
Tucker recalled that law enforcement officials initially used drones to look for McDaniel but soon turned to other, more traditional search methods when their remote controlled eyes in the sky found no trace of the missing 19-year-old.
Tucker added that the search ramped up on Monday as various agencies put a growing number of boots on the ground under the overall command of Alamance County Emergency Management. These forces include 39 cadets in basic law enforcement training who’ve been dragooned to conduct grid searches along the banks of the Haw. In the meantime, trained dogs have been dispatched to help track down McDaniel, while watercraft have been plying the river itself – at least when the conditions have permitted their use.
“Yesterday, we put a boat in the Haw River” Tucker recounted during Wednesday’s news conference. “But we’re not doing that today because the river is moving swiftly. One of the challenges is that, because of the rain we have had, the river is swollen. Plus there’s a lot of woodland and a lot farmland along the river.”
Tucker estimated that, by Wednesday morning, some 75 people had been enlisted to help with the search for McDaniel. Although he conceded that some of these individuals are involved in a purely command capacity, he added that dozens of others have braved the elements directly. He added that the search parties had tromped through acres of riverside property, zeroing in on an area that runs from Western High School to Burch Bridge Road.
Tucker noted that the ordeals of the search teams were made somewhat easier by the food and encouragement they’ve received from the parishioners at Westside Fellowship and Shallow Ford Christian Church. Even so, the sheriff’s spokesman insisted that the people involved in the search would continue their efforts as long as necessary.
“We just want to get McDaniel back to his family,” he added, “and to also get these searchers back to their families.”