A search and rescue team on Tuesday used a robotic device to recover the body of a missing 18-year-old man from a Chatham County lake.
The body of Gabriel “Boone” Cummins, 18, of Pittboro was found in Sugar Lake shortly after 1 a.m., the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Investigators think Cummins drowned. His body was transported to the state medical examiner’s office to determine an official cause of death, the sheriff’s office reported.
Cummins had been missing for nearly a week. He was last seen near the lake between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office. Later that day, at about 5 p.m., law enforcement officials from Chatham, Orange and Lee counties and the State Bureau of Investigation started searching for Cummins in the area of Sugar Lake Road in Pittsboro.
Search teams used bloodhounds to comb the area, then used boats, rescue divers and high-powered sonar to look for the teen in Sugar Lake. But they had to end their search on Friday because of plummeting water temperatures and zero visibility at 40 feet below the water’s surface.
The teams also determined the lake floor is littered with old machinery and other hazardous debris that would pose safety concerns for divers, the sheriff’s office reported.
They resumed their search on Monday after the Sherills Ford Fire Department in Catawba County offered to use its remote operated vehicle. The robotic devices are capable of performing searches that are too dangerous for human rescuers.
“After many hours of attempted recovery, the ROV was successful in returning the body to the surface,” a spokesperson with the sheriff’s office said in the news release.
Cummins was an avid skateboarder and was a member of the Pittsboro Skateboarders, according to his Facebook page.