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Teen boy’s body found in Guyandotte River

May 24, 2019 GMT

BARBOURSVILLE — The body of a teenage boy who drowned Wednesday evening in the Guyandotte River near Martha Elementary School was found just after 3 p.m. Thursday by rescue divers, according to Cabell County Sheriff Chuck Zerkle.

Nathan Lee Skyles, 16, was fishing and swimming with friends Wednesday evening when he went under the water and did not come back up.

Zerkle said Wednesday that the spot is a popular place for the neighborhood kids to hang out. The river was up due to recent rainfall, and a current took Skyles under.

Zerkle said it was a sad day and the recovery provided some closure for a bad situation.


Skyles’ body was recovered by the Cabell County EMS and Barboursville Volunteer Fire Department dive team.

Heavy rain and lightning delayed the search Thursday, which Zerkle said turned from a rescue mission to a recovery effort.

According to a police report filed in the Cabell County Sheriff ’s Office, Skyles, another teenager and a young adult were fishing in the river Wednesday along Colonial Court, near Martha Elementary School, when Skyles and one of his friends attempted to swim to the other side of the river.

Skyles began to struggle in the current and went under the surface. One of the witnesses attempted to help him but was unable to make contact. Another neighborhood child came down to the river and was sent to get help, and crews responded to the scene at about 7:30 p.m.

Crews from Cabell County EMS, the Cabell County Sheriff ’s Department, Barboursville VFD and West Virginia State Police responded to help with the investigation using boats and kayaks in the search.

The search was called off at 10 p.m. Wednesday for the safety of the rescue teams, and they regrouped at about 8 a.m. Thursday to continue the search, adding helicopters, search dogs and divers to the search team.

A heavy downpour that started at about 10 a.m. Thursday caused the search once again to stop, Zerkle said at a Cabell County Commission meeting Thursday, but it resumed a little after noon Thursday once the weather cleared.