Rapid City police found the body of Trevor Whitehead in Rapid Creek at 7:05 Sunday morning. Rescuers recovered the body from the water near South Valley Drive and Melody Lane.
The 10–year–old child was reported missing Saturday afternoon. His step–brother last saw the boy sitting near Rapid Creek. Whitehead, who was visiting his father, frequently plays in the area near the creek. So when the family did not find him after a brief search, they contacted police.
Due to dangerous water level, soft terrain along the creek banks, and the concern for the safety of search personnel, Saturday’s extensive search for Whitehead was scaled back.
With water moving at 335 cubic feet per second, core engineers made a decision Saturday night to reduce the water flow in the Pactola Reservoir. “Whitehead’s body was deeply submerged below the water making it hard for police to locate without reducing the water level,” said Police Captain Karl Jergis.
With the water a few inches lower, police located his body, which was hung up on branches about 50 feet from where he is believed to have entered the creek, said Jergis.
In light of this tragedy, people are being urged to practice caution near the creek because the banks of the Rapid Creek are very soft slippery and dangerous; especially as water in the creek is expected to resume to the normal flow of 400 cubic feet.
The Pennington County Sheriffs office and the Rapid City Police will continue their investigation.
Whitehead’s family has requested privacy during this time but has thanked the first responders and community for their search efforts.