Missing swimmer

Guadalupe County Sheriff's Cpl. Laura Kohls looks out over the Guadalupe River on Thursday, May 7, 2020 at the FM 1117 bridge as searchers look for 18-year-old Adrian Mares who went missing while swimming Wednesday night.

Searchers on Thursday morning recovered the body of an 18-year-old man who went missing while swimming in the Guadalupe River the day before.

Divers found the body of Adrian Mares, of San Antonio, in the Guadalupe River not far from where he was last seen swimming at the FM 1117 bridge, Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Lt. Clint Garza said.

A group of people were swimming in the river just south of the bridge when Mares went missing about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Garza said.

“They were out here swimming last night. They moved into a part of the river they hadn’t been in,” he said. “There is a gravel bar and it was pretty shallow, but just past that further downstream it gets deeper. They got into those waters.”

Mares and another male started to struggle in the water and another person nearby went out and was able to bring one of them back, Garza said.

“The second, unfortunately, they couldn’t get a hold of,” he said.

First responders were called to help look for Mares and the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office put a call out on social media for nearby residents to keep an eye out in case he was able to get to the bank.

Deputies, firefighters and a DPS helicopter searched the area until about midnight, but were unable to find Mares, Garza said.

They resumed searching about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, and with the help of the South Hays Fire Department Dive Team, located Mares’ body about 10:30 a.m.

“He was not very far from where he was last seen,” Garza said. “He was caught in some debris that was underwater.”

The stretch of river Mares was swimming in is “treacherous,” Garza said.

“The dams that are up the river — Lake McQueeney, Lake Placid, Meadow — all control the water flows here,” he said. “This (stretch) is kind of the last exit for all of that that comes out of those dams.”

As water is released, the river level fluctuates.

The constant changes of the water levels and flows, combined with debris and brush left from floods, create unseen hazards, Garza said.

“There is a lot of whirlpools,” he said. “There’s a pretty good bend in the river, not quite 90 degrees but almost, just down from here and it causes a lot of currents, a lot of undertows and it makes it really dangerous.”

Garza warned people looking to cool off in the river to make sure they are familiar before jumping in.

“If you go out to a river to go swimming, you need to know that area well,” he said. “Make sure you’re aware of any obstructions under water, any currents, some history. It is good to know before you get into the water what you are jumping in.”

Felicia Frazar is the managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. She can be reached at felicia.frazar@seguingazette.com .

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