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Search for missing teen continues this weekend

Authorities will continue searching the Red River this weekend for a 19-year-old believed to have jumped from the Kennedy Bridge, but after Sunday, efforts may be suspended until the water level declines further, said Cpl. Thomas Inocencio of the...

Delano Gaking
Grand Forks investigators have released this photo of Delano Gaking hoping that someone saw him when he was on the Kennedy Bridge April 13 or afterward. Boat crews have been searching the Red River for his body.

Authorities will continue searching the Red River this weekend for a 19-year-old believed to have jumped from the Kennedy Bridge, but after Sunday, efforts may be suspended until the water level declines further, said Cpl. Thomas Inocencio of the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department.

Inocencio, who leads the department's water rescue team, said one boat will be used to search the river for about four hours today and Sunday. He said officials will probably consider next week how long they'll keep searching.

Delano Gaking went missing April 13. Several witnesses have told investigators they saw Gaking that morning on the bridge that links Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, including a passing motorist who reported seeing a person outside the bridge railing. When the driver looked back, the person was gone. No one has reported actually seeing Gaking fall from the bridge which, at the time, was about 25 to 30 feet above the water.

Crews have used drag hooks, sonar systems and a specially trained dog in attempts to find Gaking's body. In the days right after his disappearance, boat crews were on the water from about 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., focusing on the area just below the bridge, but this week, efforts were scaled back to one boat crew searching for about four hours each day. The exception was Thursday when two boats traveled 25 miles downstream of the bridge with crews looking to see if his body had resurfaced, Inocencio said.

Inocencio said the rising water temperature increases the chance that Gaking's body will resurface, and the declining river level improves the prospect of finding his body if it is entangled along the shoreline. He said shallower water also makes their sonar systems more accurate.

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Inocencio said divers may be deployed near the bridge if the river drops to a safer level.

Reach Ingersoll at (701) 780-1269; (800) 477-6572, ext. 269; or send e-mail to aingersoll@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: RED RIVER
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