A Wisconsin teenager on vacation in Alabama went missing after being swept away in late March while trying to rescue his parents.
The parents of Jevon Lemke, 17, said that he was pulled under by riptide while swimming at Fort Morgan Beach, which does not have lifeguards.
Chris Lemke told People magazine that he and his wife Carrie were swimming in the ocean when the violent riptide became too much to handle and they struggled to fight against it.
Jevon was one of several people who rushed into the water to try to rescue them.
“Selfless… He was selfless. He didn’t think about himself first—it was others. Always,” mother Carrie told Fox 10.
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“He was pulled out further … we went back in to try to get Jevon, but he was too far out. I tried yelling for Jevon,” Chris said.
“We went and got help, we waited for the ambulance. There wasn’t much we could do. We were kind of helpless waiting for everyone to get there to try to search for him and get him out of the water.”
Family members admitted the teenager is likely dead but desperately want to find his body so they can give him a proper funeral.
Jevon Lemke, a neighbor, friend, and teammate of mine got swept up by a rip tide in Alabama after jumping in and saving both of his parents lives. Anyone who knew him would not be shocked at his actions. He was a Godly man that always had a smile on his face. RIP brother ??
— Tanner Natzke (@Tmannatzke23) March 27, 2018
These are the conditions searchers have been dealing with while looking for Jevon Lemke, missing since he was caught in a rip current off Fort Morgan beach yesterday afternoon. Fire officials say water search suspended but crews combing the beach @mynbc15 pic.twitter.com/4ChMu2Qaqx
— Cory Pippin TV (@CoryPippinTV) March 26, 2018
“Just keep watching for him… If you’re a fisherman or anything just keep watching for him. I know he’s probably not alive. But I want to take him back to Wisconsin. That’s all that I ask. If you have a plane—please if you’re going over just check for me. That’s all we ask,” said father Chris.
State officials said recovery efforts have been hindered by the weather but hope to deploy crews this week to try to find the body.
Happening now: Reedsville community is holding a candlelight vigil for Jevon Lemke, the teenager missing in Alabama after saving his dad and stepmom from a rip current pic.twitter.com/dXEvRJNzAO
— Alexandra Burnley (@AlexandraWFRV) March 28, 2018
The superintendent of the Reedsville School District, where Jevon went to school, told the Post-Crescent that counselors were provided to the students to help with the loss of their peer.
A fundraiser on GoFundMe was launched by a family friend for the Lemke family, which has three other children.