Burlington After more than five months of waiting, the mother of an 11-year-old boy who disappeared after a boating accident on an eastern Kansas reservoir said she is relieved and grateful that her son's body has been found.
The remains of Jeremy Jenkins were found Saturday near John Redmond Reservoir. After dental records were used to positively identify him, Coffey County authorities notified his mother, Shelly Jenkins.
Jeremy had been missing since Dec. 4, when the bodies of his father, Jason Jenkins, and uncle, Clint Yeager, were found near a capsized boat on the reservoir, where the three had been duck hunting. They were all from the Neosho Rapids area.
"I got the best Mother's Day gift anybody could get," Shelley Jenkins told The Emporia Gazette. "I guess the hard part was going through the steps of them telling you they have to identify your kid through dental records."
Several searches for the boy were conducted, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lowered the water level on the reservoir in January. But it wasn't until Saturday when people riding ATVs who had known Jeremy all his life found the remains.
"I'm sure it's very hard for them, but I'm so thankful they were there and called it in and did what they had to do," Jenkins said. "I would like to thank everybody who took their own precious time, the volunteers who searched and was dedicated to make sure we brought him home. It's just amazing what the community has done to step up to make sure he was found."
One of the most dedicated searchers was Scott Thomas, a close friend of the Jenkins and Yeager families, who said Clint Yeager was like a son to him. He went to the reservoir nearly every day for more than five months to search for Jeremy.
"We just weren't going to give up," Thomas said. "Whatever it took. I really felt somebody had to keep looking for him."
Jenkins said she wasn't sure if services would be held for Jeremy.