BAZETTA — A two-day search of Mosquito Lake for a missing teenage boy ended Friday afternoon when searchers pulled the body of a young man out of the water.
The body was found between the beach and the main boat launch. There was no evidence of what may have led to the man’s death as of Friday evening, according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources Patrolman J.R. Polk.
“So far it just looks like he went swimming,” Polk said.
Investigators were searching Mosquito Lake for Travis Jay Shaffer, 16, of Bazetta, who was reported missing by his family around 8 a.m. Thursday. A member of Shaffer’s family told a Trumbull County 911 dispatcher he left his house around 1 a.m. and his 2004 blue Ford Taurus was found near Mosquito Lake, where investigators converged around 9 a.m. Thursday. The search was conducted from about 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, then resumed 9 a.m. Friday, according to Bazetta fire Chief Dennis Lewis.
The body was discovered by sonar around 3:15 p.m. Friday and was brought to shore by one of the dive teams a short time later, Lewis said.
Shaffer’s family was present at Mosquito Lake while the search was conducted, but it has not been confirmed if the body recovered from the lake was Shaffer. An autopsy is expected to provide the final identification, Lewis said.
Participating in the search was the Bazetta Fire Department, Bazetta Police Department, the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office, the Trumbull County HazMat team, the Trumbull County Emergency Management Agency, ODNR, the Mosquito Lake Park, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, the American Red Cross, the Akron City Fire Department, the Green City Fire Department, the Mecca Fire Department dog team and the Windsor Fire Department dog team.
Searching the lake were the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office dive team and the Green City Fire Department’s dive team. Overall, about 50 people were involved in the search Thursday and 37 people helped on Friday. The American Red Cross provided food and water for the searchers, Lewis said.
“I can’t speak enough of all the teams put together, they did a great job,” Lewis said.
To help narrow down the search area, search teams used cadaver dogs to search on land in a grid search, which gave investigators an idea where the man could have entered the water. To search the lake, investigators relied on sonar and a drone with infrared capabilities, but the equipment was often hampered by inaccurate readings because of the underwater vegetation.
“There was a lot of vegetation growth, which was a big hindrance to find the body,” Lewis said.