Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

14-year-old vanishes while fishing with brother, cops say. Days later, a body washes up

North Topsail Beach (Town of North Topsail Beach, NC Government/Facebook)

A 14-year-old boy with a dream of becoming an engineer vanished off the North Carolina coast while fishing with his brother, officials and news outlets reported.

Then, days after the teen disappeared on the Fourth of July, a body washed ashore on a nearby military base, the North Topsail Beach Police Department wrote in news releases.

The person was found dead July 7 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, a roughly 120-mile drive southeast from Raleigh. But as of July 8, mystery surrounded the person’s identity.

“Identification has not been confirmed at this time,” police wrote. “Once a positive identification has been made, an update will be provided.”

Police had spent days searching for the teen, identified in news reports as Mainor Perez. He dreamed of becoming an engineer and was a student at Southern Wayne High School near Goldsboro, a roughly 60-mile drive southeast from Raleigh, according to ABC11.

“He was the funniest in the family,” Yunior Perez, the teen’s 26-year-old brother, told ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner. “Everybody loved him.”

Mainor Perez was with another brother when they waded about 50 yards into the New River Inlet, which has strong currents, according to police and WRAL.

“The brothers were fishing when the 14-year-old male was swept away and was yelling for help,” officers wrote. “Witnesses in the area reported that a boat was near and assisted by pulling one brother into the boat. The 14-year old’s brother made it to shore and reported that his brother had gone under.”

The same day the teen’s brother made it to safety, North Topsail Beach officials reported receiving three other water rescue calls. In the days that followed, searchers from several agencies used a drone, boats and a helicopter to look for the missing high schooler.

After a body was found July 7, police said they notified the teen’s family. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) reportedly is investigating the death.

“I can confirm that NCIS responded yesterday to a report of a deceased body found along the shoreline of Camp Lejeune,” Darwin Lam, a spokesperson for the agency, told McClatchy News in a July 8 email. “Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS will not comment further while the investigation remains ongoing.”

Yunior Perez told the Goldsboro Daily News that the ordeal has been devastating for his family. Meanwhile, his brother has been described as a person who doesn’t hesitate to help others.

“He used to help a lot, he never refused for any favor,” Yunior Perez told the Goldsboro Daily News. “You could ask him for anything, he would always help you out. He was that type of person.”

Camp Lejeune didn’t immediately respond to McClatchy News’ requests for additional information on July 8.


© 2024 The Charlotte Observer

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC