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Teenager’s body recovered from Grasse River

Published: Nov. 27, 2021 at 2:02 PM EST
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Russell, New York (WWNY) - It was a difficult, frigid search in the icy waters of the Grasse River. But it didn’t take long Saturday to locate the body of 18 year old Jacob Cleary, of Russell.

“We had approximately 12 to 14 divers in the water today and subsequently we’ve located the body of our victim,” said Sean O’Brien, St. Lawrence County Undersheriff.

O’Brien said Cleary’s car went off a curve on Lazy River Road just before a bridge. A 911 call on the crash came in just after midnight.

Officials suspect the winter weather conditions were what led to Cleary’s vehicle sliding into the river.

Rescuers battled a snowstorm and ice. State Police divers located the black Audi at about 4 AM under 10 to 12 feet of water.

“The vehicle was subsequently removed. Unfortunately, there was no one inside the vehicle,” said O’Brien.

The vehicle was registered to Cleary. His family was able to verify he had left home in it Friday night. Sheriff’s Deputies were able to show this picture of him to people living in the area. There was still a glimmer of hope. But that faded as the morning went on.

“We deployed the drone and all our assets today for recovery efforts,” said O’Brien.

Ice was a huge factor in making this search more difficult. Rescuers who were there Friday night said the ice covering on the river had doubled by morning.

It was a race against time. If too much ice formed, the recovery effort would have had to be suspended.

But around 1 PM Saturday, dive teams from volunteer fire departments throughout the area were able to pull Cleary from the water about 60 feet from where his car was found.

Officials say no one else was believed to be in the car.

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