Family searches for drowned teen at Boca | SierraSun.com

Family searches for drowned teen at Boca

David Bunker

A week and a half after Justin Garrick disappeared under the water of Boca Reservoir, his family continues to crisscross the water in their boats and drive the reservoirs’ shoreline – hoping to turn up his body.The search that began as a large-scale effort by divers, airplanes, helicopters and rescue dogs had dwindled to a group made mostly of family members and volunteers by Wednesday of last week. A single sheriff boat still makes one search a day, according to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, but all underwater searching was called off for one week.When the official search tailed off, nearly 40 of Garrick’s family members, friends and coworkers from Nevada, California and Washington had congregated at Boca Reservoir to search for the 17-year-old Reno teen who reportedly fell from a wakeboard boat after it hit a large wave or wake on June 26.On Tuesday afternoon the Garrick family, with their two boats, were the only signs of a search at the reservoir. Tomorrow, dog teams from Nevada County will once again be on the scene, and a specialized sonar boat from Sacramento County will patrol the lake in hopes of locating the body. But for now, being left virtually alone to carry out the search for their son’s body has been a frustrating experience, the Garricks said.”Our family was doing all the patrolling and we’re not police,” said Tambara Garrick, Justin Garrick’s cousin. “It just seems so weird that your own family is doing the searching.”Justin Garrick had just finished wakeboarding with a group of his friends, and was seated at the front of the boat, when the craft took a hard left turn and hit a wake at the same time. Justin Garrick was thrown from the boat, and was possibly hit by the side of the boat when he fell, said his dad, David Garrick.Justin Garrick, who had lent the life jacket to the teenager wakeboarding behind the boat, was never seen again.Details of accident unclearFor the Garricks, who were not at the reservoir when the accident took place, the details of their son’s drowning have been as murky as the depths of water that obscure the search for his body. The uncertainties and the start-and-stop search efforts have frustrated the family in grief over their son’s drowning.”No family in whatever county should have to experience that,” said David Garrick .Sheriff’s officials said that they called off underwater searching last Wednesday because of diver fatigue. The search, they say, is a body recovery, and decisions over what resources should be used at the reservoir are made on that basis. The sonar boat from Sacramento County was needed on its home turf during the holiday weekend that just ended, said Nevada County sheriff’s Lt. Lee Osborne.”Unfortunately in each of these instances there comes a point after a number of days when we are not searching for a live person, where the search has to be scaled back,” Osborne said.After diving in the reservoir for four straight days, the sheriff’s called of their dive teams last Wednesday. Washoe County had a dive team at the reservoir on Friday, but were unsuccessful.”Sometimes you are literally blindfolded,” Osborne said. “And we’re limited in the time [divers] can be down.” If the sonar search is unsuccessful, the county will eventually stop searching, Osborne said.”There will come a point where we will discontinue our surface and shoreline searches,” he said. For Justin’s family, the bright side of the search effort has been the numerous volunteers that have cooked meals, offered hotel rooms and camp sites and helped search. “That side of the story has been rewarding,” David Garrick said. “With every effort that has been questioned, there is 10 times the effort unquestioned.”A volunteer outfit from Idaho that was recently was in Aruba to search for a missing teen is scheduled to show up any day with a special sonar system that has been very successful in locating drowning victims, said David Garrick. A couple volunteer divers from Reno and a man who has sonar on his boat have also been searching on their own time, he said.And along with the search, the 12 to 14 hours per day spent at Boca Reservoir has been a remembrance of Justin Garrick, his family said.”He effected a lot of people’s lives,” said David Garrick. “He was a wonderful, wonderful boy.”Meanwhile, the family plans to stay at the reservoir as long as they can.”We’re not professional and don’t know if what we are doing is anything – crazy or futile,” David Garrick said. “But we’re trying.”If you are interested in volunteering your help to the Garrick family in the search for Justin Garrick, call David Garrick at (775) 233-2863.