Family of missing teen seeks closure as search continues

HOUSE SPRINGS, MO (KPLR) - The second day of searching for a missing teen in the Big River ended the same as it began.

Fourteen-year-old Devon Lavelle Cotton’s family said he was the type of person everyone wanted to be around.

Devon’s mom, Jada Cooper, said he was going to be a sophomore at Kirkwood High School and already being scouted by college football programs. She said Devon was also a champion chess player and loved to draw; just an all-around, well-rounded kid.

Around 4 p.m. Wednesday, Devon and some friends tried to swim across the river to some rocks. The friends said the current became too strong about three-quarters of the way across and pushed Devon towards the rapids. The other kids said Devon went under and he never resurfaced.

Corporal Juston Wheetley, Missouri State Highway Patrol, said divers can’t see anything in the water, so they have been doing a grid search of the area. Divers have been searching the bottom of the river one arm’s length at a time.

Devon’s family said the divers didn’t find anything and they have to go home for another night without any closure.

Wheetley said this was the last day divers would search, but they’ll continue to conduct surface searches.