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Girl who drowned in river outside St. Louis identified

July 5, 2021 GMT

BALLWIN, Mo. (AP) — A teenage girl who drowned last week in a river at a state park outside of St. Louis has been identified by her father.

Karl Wrice told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his 16-year-old daughter, Kara Wrice, drowned in the Meramec River in Castlewood State Park on Friday. Searchers found the teen’s body hours after she went under the water and never resurfaced.

The girl was at the site with a group of other people when she was reported missing after swimming, St. Louis County Police spokesperson Sgt. Tracy Panus said. Heavy rainfall during the past week has caused area waterways to rise, adding to the need for swimmers to take extra precautions, such as wearing life jackets, Panus said.

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“You can be the strongest swimmer and it doesn’t matter,” she said.

Karl Wrice said his daughter was a straight-A student at Webster Groves High School who played volleyball, worked as a lifeguard and had worked as a model since she was 14, appearing in ads for Famous Footwear.

At least 17 people drowned or died in boating accidents in Missouri in June, more than during any previous June in the last decade