After wandering into a ravine about three miles from his house, a Maryland dad found what he had been searching for and what he feared most—the body of his 17-year-old son face up in a pond.
Frank Sepehri had been searching all Sunday for his son after he wandered off from a group of friends in Bethesda on the night of Saturday, Dec. 9. He was last seen about 11:30 p.m., NBC 4 reports.
My best friend Navid Sepehri has been missing since last night at around 11:00pm. He was last seen in the Bannockburn neighborhood near Pyle Road wearing a red flannel and khakis. If you have or did seen him or know anything about where he may be please contact me or the police. pic.twitter.com/PaCc4pABC5
— Lucas? (@llukewalkerr) December 10, 2017
Sepehri knew his son Navid was going to a friend’s house that night, and in retrospect, he believes Navid was planning to drink, as he noticed the new Mazda he and his wife had just given Navid was left at home. Navid was clear about not drinking and driving, Sepehri said.
At about 8 p.m that night, bank records show Navid withdrew $20 from an ATM that Sepehri believes was used to buy alcohol.
According to a press release, Navid next went to a house where his friend’s younger brother was hosting a party. He was with a group of other seniors and likely found out about the party on social media, one of the homeowners told police.
The parents of the student hosting the house party sent the teens away after finding out that there was alcohol at the party.
Police were called to the house on reports of underage drinking, and while they noted that some of the teenagers appeared intoxicated, they made no arrests.
Instead, body camera footage shows that they asked the teens to go home—and to make sure a visibly intoxicated Navid was taken care of.
NEW: @mcpnews admits they should have taken missing persons report for Whitman senior Navid Sepehri earlier. Sepehri, 17, was found dead by his father about 17 hrs after he was last seen by officers breaking up party w/ underage drinking. @fox5dc pic.twitter.com/hohEBg9wLD
— Evan Lambert (@EvanLambertTV) December 14, 2017
“He was talking to my son … and my son was drunk. He was kind of like, shaking around. He asked [Navid’s] friends, ‘Get this kid out of here before I get him in trouble,’” Sepehri told WTOP, describing the body camera footage.
The teens then went to a 7-Eleven store where they hung out in the parking lot, WTOP reports, before ordering an Uber to drive them home.
Navid told friends he was OK and started off into the snowy night on foot toward his home, about a mile away, according to WTOP.
That was the last anyone saw of him.
At about 3 a.m., Sepehri went to the Montgomery County police station in Bethesda after becoming concerned that his son hadn’t come home. An officer told him to wait till morning, saying he was likely at a friend’s house and that sooner or later, he would show up.
.@mcpnews: #Whitman HS teen was found in ravine / stream, no foul play. #Bethesda police BWC showed Navid Sepehri spoke w ofc after teen drinking party. Was told to go home w friends. @fox5dc pic.twitter.com/jJV7KMbame
— Melanie Alnwick (@fox5melanie) December 13, 2017
He went home, hoping to hear from his son, but when he didn’t hear from him by 8 a.m. the next day, he decided to go search for Navid himself.
On foot and by car, Sepehri looked for Navid using the Find My iPhone app, which he used to check on his son’s whereabouts, WTOP reported.
At 12:46 p.m., police finally received an official missing person’s report from someone who they have not named.
Just before 5 p.m., Sepehri had made his way to a wooded ravine where his son’s phone last pinged before running out of battery.
There, Sepheri saw his son, face up, in a six-foot pond at the end of a stream.
“As you can imagine, I went crazy. I pulled him out of the water. I stayed there with him, thinking, ya know, ‘He’s alive’ and all that,” Sepehri recalled to WTOP.
Sepehri yelled so loud that a neighbor came out to see what was happening. He tried to give Navid CPR, but it was too late.
“When I pushed his stomach, there was blood coming out and alcohol. Just imagine. I could smell the alcohol. You’re talking about major drinking,” he told WTOP.
A bottle of vodka was found in his pocket.
At this point, investigators with the Montgomery County Police say they don’t suspect foul play, but as of Tuesday when they spoke to the media, the autopsy results were still pending.
Navid grew up in Bethesda and was planning to study computer science after he graduated this coming spring from Walt Whitman High School, The Washington Post reports. He would have been 18 in January.
Whitman students mourn the loss of their friend Navid Sepehri at swim club where body was found. Some in tears. Others hugging. Several brought flowers. pic.twitter.com/W1rq6YPcCz
— Paul Wagner (@Fox5Wagner) December 11, 2017
— Delia Gonçalves (@deliangoncalves) December 12, 2017
Colleen Harkins Carter, the mother of one of Navid’s good friends, comforted Navid’s mother as they stood in a parking lot nearby where his body was found on Sunday.
Carter said to the Post she told his friends that the loss was every mother’s worst nightmare.
“This could be any of us,” she said. “Don’t leave each other alone, and don’t encourage binge drinking.”
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