Body of missing Goldsboro teen found off Emerald Isle

Elijah Hinnant (Provided to CBS North Carolina)

EMERLAD ISLE, N.C. (WNCN) – The body of a 17-year-old Goldboro teen who went missing while swimming at Emerald Isle on Saturday has been found, police confirmed Tuesday.

The teen, later identified as Elijah Hinnant, was swimming near the Bogue Inlet Pier around 6 p.m. Saturday when they got caught in a rip current.

RELATED: Search suspended for Wayne Co. teen at NC coast, 2nd teen in critical condition

The Coast Guard initiated a search for Hinnant on Sunday and Monday but were unable to locate the teen’s body.

Emerald Isle Police Chief James Reese confirmed Hinnant’s body was found Tuesday around 8 a.m.

An object was spotted floating a little more than 1,500 yards offshore.

The 17-year-old was swimming with another teen when they got caught in a rip current.

Elijah Hinnant was a senior at Eastern Wayne High.

“We’re a very tight school and a tight community and this is just devastating for us,” said Principal Lee Johnson.

Johnson said the school would hold a moment of silence for Hinnant when students return from summer break.

“For a child so young and just beginning their life it’s just so tragic,” Johnson said.


The 16-year-old boy was located Saturday and was brought ashore by a surfer. Live-saving measures were performed on the 16-year-old.

He was taken to Carteret Health Care and then airlifted to Vidant Medical Center where he remains in critical condition.

“The Town of Emerald Isle would like to convey our deepest condolences to Elijah’s family for their loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both these young men and our
staff will remain available to the families to answer questions and provide any support we can to help them through this tragedy,” Emerald Isle police said in a release.

During the search on Sunday for Hinnant, Coast Guard assets covered approximately 129 square nautical miles and searched for over 25 hours, officials said.

Earlier Sunday, an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter were searching the waters.

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