DOUGLAS COUNTY, Kan. – The Douglas County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday released the identity of the young man who was on a boat with a friend when it capsized on Saturday at Douglas State Fishing Lake. The friend made it to shore with minor injuries, but Cameron Kirchner, 18, from Gardner has not been found.
On Tuesday, Kirchner's family released a statement:
This is an extremely hard time for us as we wait for news of our loved one, Cameron Kirchner. But we have been so appreciative of the love and support that has been showed to us by friends and strangers alike. The community has been so supportive during the last few days and we can’t express our gratitude enough.
We would also like to thank law enforcement, as well as their families, for being supportive of our family while they search for Cameron.
The parents of Cameron, Melissa Howard and Chris Kirchner, as well as Cameron’s family are asking for privacy during this difficult time. We are also requesting that people remember our feelings before posting rumors or speculation on social media.
For anyone wishing to support Cameron’s family, a Go Fund Me account has been set up under “Douglas County Lake Missing Teen.”
Multiple agencies continued to search the lake for Cameron. After two days of searching, at about 2:00 Monday afternoon, the search team located a boat, but authorities did not immediately confirm it was the boat they were looking for.
Despite the boat discovery, conditions in the water caused trouble for searchers looking to locate the teen.
“Some of that is just the temperature of the water, even though it is kind of warm out here for February, the water is still very cold,” said Sergeant Kristen Dymacek. “We are looking at about 40 degrees. It is very murky under the water, so visibility is very hard. It is windy today, and so the wind and current is affecting the search as well.”
Authorities said they would continue the search until the teen was found or until it got dark on Monday. If he wasn't located, they said the search would resume on Tuesday.
The teen disappeared over the weekend when a boat that he and another teen were fishing from capsized on Saturday night. The other boy managed to make it to shore and was treated for minor injuries.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family in their search for the teen.