By Ashley Yarchin
Pacific, MO (KSDK) - One week ago Monday, an intense search for 12-year-old Christopher Marks was underway.
He was laid to rest Monday, and just before that, St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch tweeted that his department had enlisted the help of a world-renown drowning expert.
For nearly two full days, they looked from the air, on land and in the water. And just moments before the unsuccessful search was suspended at the Pacific Palisades Conservation area where 12-year-old Christopher Marks was last seen with his four friends, his stepfather and 15-year-old sister, Chief Fitch said this: "Unfortunately I don't have any good news to report to you right now."
But moments later, what had become a recovery effort, quickly moved almost two miles downstream to the Allenton river access near Eureka. Police said Christopher's stepfather, one of the last to see boy, was the first to spot his body.
"It's a freaky coincidence," explained Andrea Zaferes, vice president of Lifeguard Systems in Shokan, New York. "When I first heard about it, I said, yeah, that really doesn't make sense."
She and her partner have helped the National Association of Missing and Exploited Children with what are believed to be homicidal drownings for more than a decade. Last Friday, Zaferes took to the Meramec River and determined homicidal it was not.
"It was a tragic, needless drowning," she explained. "The first issue is that the water was moving faster than it usually was."
She said that's thanks to a big storm the night before Christopher disappeared. The other issue, though, revolves around what his sister said he was doing earlier that night.
"One drink of beer is not gonna get you drunk, so he was fine," Katie Marks told the media last Monday.
"Now you add alcohol to that mix, you get tired, you get knocked down stream, now you inhale water and your trachea closes up, so you can't breathe," Zaferes went on to say.
While she confirmed investigators' initial thoughts on the case, it still isn't closed. Police fear toxicology reports expected in two-to-three weeks will tell another story. Possibly one echoed at the vigil for Christopher.
Since police have said an adult was present during the underage drinking, they explain it's possible we may soon see charges. Investigators at that it all depends on the medical examiner's final report.