Local teen found dead
FREEPORT — A local teen who had been reported missing was found dead early Sunday, apparently from drowning.
According to Guernsey and Harrison county officials, the body of 17-year-old Jack E. Roehrich of Freeport was discovered on Skullfork Road about 3 miles inside Harrison County. Roehrich had been reported missing by members of his family Friday evening after he failed to return from a drive around town to “take a look at the flood water,” according to officials. He was driving a black 1991 Ford F-350.
Flooding occurred throughout the Ohio Valley on Friday due to heavy downpours. Guernsey County Sheriff Jeffrey D. Paden issued a Level 1 road advisory for the county that morning due to the potential flood risks.
“Several roadways are flooded in Guernsey County. Motorists are urged to drive cautiously,” the sheriff’s department’s Facebook page stated.
Many local roadways subsequently became flooded and were closed by the Ohio Department of Transportation due to the influx of rain.
The sheriff’s office said in another post that deputies had attempted to locate Roehrich through his cell phone but were unsuccessful.
“The sheriff’s office did an emergency ping on Jack’s cell phone, but it was turned off. The last known location was a 3-mile radius of the cell tower near London Road,” the post stated on Saturday.
Officials from Belmont, Harrison and Guernsey counties were involved in the search for Roerich.
Harrison County Sheriff Ronald “Joe” Myers said his office received a call that the truck Roerich had been driven had been recovered around 1:26 a.m. Sunday.
Once flood water began to recede, a passerby spotted the top of the teen’s black truck submerged in the high water, he said.
Myers said the teen was found inside the truck and was pronounced deceased at the scene.
“It’s a tragic thing,” he said.
Following the discovery, the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Department took to Facebook to express condolences to the young man’s family and friends.
“It is with a heavy heart that Sheriff Jeffrey Paden announces that Jack Roehrich was found deceased early this morning. … Sheriff Paden would like everyone to continue to keep Jack’s family in your thoughts and prayers,” the post states.
Paden also thanked those who aided in the search.
Law enforcement officials are awaiting autopsy results from the Cuyahoga County Coroner to determine the official cause of death.
Myers said area residents should always be wary of high water and flooded roadways.
“If there’s a sign out on a road that tends to flood, go another way,” he said. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.