Barbour County emergency officials recovered the body of a man Tuesday who drowned in the Tygart Valley River near Party Rock in Arden Saturday.
Rodney Childers, 34, of Clarksburg, was recovered from the waters at about 1:15 p.m., according to Fire Chief John Green of the Philippi Volunteer Fire Department, who was involved with the search for Childers since it began Saturday.
Childers was spotted with the help of a police dog who was tracing his scent. The dog successfully tracked his scent and spotted Childers' head above the water after the water level had dropped, according to Green.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
The body of Rodney Childers, 34, of Clarksburg was recovered on Tuesday at about 1:15 p.m. after he lost his balance to the current a current of water and drowned in the Tygart Valley River near ‘Party Rock’ along Arden Grade Road on Saturday. Police tape mark the area of the accident around nearby trees on the riverbank.
His body was discovered at about 11 a.m. Tuesday, wedged between two rocks, about 30 to 50 feet downstream from where he reportedly lost his footing and drowned.
"They had a pretty good idea where he was at," Green said.
Due to high water levels, divers were unable to recover the body. A boater was sent out to dislodge the body from between the rocks. One diver was present Tuesday morning, according to Green, but was not there when the body was found.
"The river conditions have not been favorable to divers until yesterday and today," said Phil Hart, fire chief of Belington Volunteer Fire Department.
Childers had swam out across the water to a rock and was swimming back as the current started carrying him down, officials said. He stood up and began walking back across when the current knocked him down.
He had been among friends at "party rock" along Arden Grade Road where the accident occurred. His friends dialed 911.
The road remained closed for the duration of the search from Saturday to Tuesday. On Tuesday, a sergeant from the deputy reserve was stationed by a sign along the road to enforce the road closure while rescue teams recovered the body. The area was closed to the public.
The Barbour Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident and responded to the scene.
In addition, the Barbour County Emergency Medical Squad responded and transported the recovered body from the scene. The volunteer fire departments of Philippi, Junior and Belington responded also.
Officials believe the drowning was an accident. The recovered body was sent to the medical examiner, according to Green.
Although Childers was living in Clarksburg at the time of the accident, Green said that he was formally a Barbour resident.