Body of teen swept from Conimicut Point recovered

Authorities on Monday recovered the body of a 16-year-old Providence boy reported missing after he was swept off a sandbar at Conimicut Point in Warwick, an area known for having strong currents.

Warwick Fire Chief Edmund Armstrong said the body of Javon Jimenez was found around 2 p.m. Monday by divers with the city police department and Rhode Island State Police. A water recovery K-9 helped find the body after a 21-hour search, officials said.

Authorities said the search for Jimenez spanned 150 square miles, but his body was found northwest of the point only a few hundred yards from where he was last seen, according to Lt. Bryan Swintek of the U.S. Coast Guard, which took part in the operation. Swintek said emergency personnel had passed over that area numerous times, meaning the body must have been submerged for some time.

The Coast Guard was alerted around 5 p.m. Sunday that a boy who had been swimming was missing after having been swept away by the tide. Another boy was also swept away, but he was able to swim to a kayaker, who rescued him, officials said.

Swintek said the sandbar that juts out at Conimicut Point during lower tides has pretty deep water on both sides, as well as what he described as "significant currents."

"There are signs warning people not to walk out on the sandbars," said Battalion Chief David Morse of the Warwick Fire Department. "People have done it for quite some time but they don't heed the warning."

Residents of the area have seen people encounter the same trouble with the tides while out on the sandbar.

"People just don't understand that if they go out on that sandbar and the tide comes in, it happens so quickly," said Valerie Dreyer of Warwick. "They don't have time to get out because the current is so strong."

"People just come and visit this area," said resident Ralph Bozzi. "They just walk down there and pick up sea shells and think nothing of it and that's what I think might have happened at this point here."

A Coast Guard helicopter and a 45-foot response boat assisted in the search.