UPDATE, FRIDAY: Lt. Ryan Price with the Poinsett County Sheriff’s Office confirms the name of the 17-year-old drowning victim is Aaron Dexter of Marked Tree.


POINSETT COUNTY, Ark. — The body of a 17-year-old from Marked Tree, Arkansas was found Thursday morning after a possible drowning the night before, according to the Poinsett County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim was not named by the sheriff’s office, but they said he was a student at Marked Tree High School.

Officials responded to a possible drowning at 8:30 Wednesday night near Rivervale. After searching for hours, at around 2:30 a.m., deputies located the victim. They believe he got caught up in a current and drowned.

According to officials, the victim’s body was found 1,000 downstream from the bridge.

Maps show the water where the body was found is a chute of the Little River. Locals called it the St. Francis Floodway Channel, and say it’s known for swift currents.

“I been around here 70 years and this river’s changed. It’s more dangerous now than when I was growing up as a kid out here,” said Horace Pendergrass, who lives in Rivervale, near the swift-moving St. Francis Floodway Channel.

Multiple search and rescue units converged at the river, turning it into a command post. Family members of the victim were at the scene all night.

“There was a lot of activity around 8:30 out here. There was like maybe 200 responders out here,” Pendergrass said.

Another person with the victim who sustained injuries and lacerations from rocks, and was transported to the hospital, the sheriff’s office said.

Gavin Teague, a junior at Marked Tree High School, is a Facebook friend with the victim, as are many who have been impacted by his sudden death.

“He was real nice to everybody,” Teague said. “He was a real kind young man. He had a real good sense of humor. It just makes me — it’s just so devastating.”

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The exact cause of the teenager’s death is still under investigation.

According to the Marked Tree School District, grief counselors were available at Marked Tree High School Thursday and will likely be available Friday beginning at 10 for any student.

The district is asking the public to pray for staff and students.