2 teen swimmers found dead after Cape Fear River search

Those who knew the teens react to the news they were found dead. CBS North Carolina photo.

ERWIN, N.C. (WNCN) — The bodies of two teen swimmers were found in the Cape Fear River in Harnett County Sunday night, officials said.

An emergency management official from Dunn said that the search took place in Erwin.

The teens were identified as Donovan Sutton, 15, and Steven McNeil, 16, both of Erwin.  Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats said Sutton and McNeil were best friends.

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Erwin Assistant Fire Chief John Wilkins said that two teenage swimmers were missing and that crews were searching the river from a base at Erwin River Park.

Among the dozens of first responders at the scene were family and friends – comforting each other as they heard the news that Sutton and McNeil were found dead.

Officials said McNeil and Sutton were with two other friends swimming in the river when they all decided to swim from one bank to the other.

Sutton and McNeil went under water and did not resurface, according to authorities.

“No parents should have to bury their children and I can’t imagine what they are going through at this time,” Coats said.

Erwin Police Chief Jonathan Johnson confirmed at 7:50 p.m. that he had just arrived on the scene.

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