Update: 6:08 p.m.
Fox 2 is reporting that police found a body in the Meramec River matching the description of Christopher Marks, although the boy's family has not confirmed the identity. St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch confirmed to the news station that the body matches the boy's description.
Our earlier story:
A search for missing person Christopher Marks was called by St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch on Tuesday afternoon one of the most intensive searches he's ever seen. "We did everything humanely possible," Fitch said a press conference conducted near the area of the last place Marks was seen.
"We have no belief that foul play was involved at this time," said Fitch.
Although hopes went soaring when a pair of socks was found Tuesday near the area at which 12-year-old missing Christopher Marks was last seen with family members and friends Sunday evening, search dogs were shown the socks and could not pick up the scent of the missing boy, said his great aunt Donna Sherman.
Marks has been missing since Sunday evening from the Meramec River in Pacific Palisades Conservation Area near the Eureka-Pacific borderline. He was at the river with his stepfather, older sister and four friends.
Fitch said ground and water resources are being suspended as of today, however Corp. Jim Barlow of the Missouri Highway Patrol said surface searches on the river and riverbanks would continue this week and next.
Fitch confirmed that search dogs only tracked Marks' scent to the water's edge, and were not able to find any more clues during Tuesday's investigation.
"We have all of Christopher's clothes, what we don't have is the clothes he had on in the water," said Fitch. "There are always conflicting stories in situations like this, but we believe this is a sad, tragic drowning."
Fitch also confirmed that Marks' stepfather, Todd Combs, was being investigated for allowing underage drinking among the group at the river Sunday night prior to Christopher's dissapearance. The children present were aged 12 to 16 years old, with Christopher being the youngest.
"However it's hard to say if alcohol played a role in this at this point," said Fitch.
Fitch said the police team definitely would be presenting this case to the St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney office.
He said because this had been deemed a criminal investigation, all leads would be followed.
Fitch said at the conference that Christopher was last seen by his sister between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. He said Combs and the rest of the group left the river area to go home to get more family members to go back to look for Christopher. They later notified police when they could not locate him after returning to the conservation area.
Officers said the river area defined by the search was at least 10 feet deep and that the underwater area searched was about the size of a football field.
Professional searchers were still finishing up in the investigative area during the press conference. Officers said the Pacific Palisades Conservation Area soon would be opened to the public and Marks' family members and friends. The Missouri Department of Conservation-owned area closes at 10 p.m., and officers plan to be on-site until that time.
See More on Patch
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