Press-Republican

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June 30, 2014

Body of missing teen found

PHS junior died while swimming with friends in the Ausable River

WILMINGTON — The body of Michael Lawson was found Sunday afternoon in the Ausable River. 

“His body was located a short distance from where he was last seen on Thursday while swimming with friends,” State Police said in a news release. 

State Police Divers, Forest Rangers, Environmental Conservation Police and search and rescue personnel recovered Lawson at 3:10 p.m. in the West Branch of the river in Wilmington.

“Essex County Coroner Francis Whitelaw responded to the scene and authorized removal of the body to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for an autopsy to be conducted tomorrow (Monday),” according to the release. 

The Plattsburgh High School junior, as well as his schoolmate Taoufik Maknani, 17, disappeared in a part of the river known as The Flume, where they had been with a small group.

Maknani’s body was found Thursday afternoon. 

Sunday’s discovery marked the end of an extensive search for Lawson, who also went by “Michaell.” 

Crews had scoured the area daily from both the land and air, as well as by boat, in an effort to locate the teen. 

“Our entire school community has been deeply saddened with the recent loss of both boys,” City School Superintendent James “Jake” Short told the Press-Republican in an email. “Now that the recovery of Mike Lawson’s body is completed, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. 

“I am not surprised but very impressed with the PHS faculty and staff as they remain steadfast in support of our student body. 

“Equally impressive is the support students have demonstrated for one another through these difficult times.”

Lawson, he added, was a three-sport athlete, who played soccer, basketball and baseball. 

On Saturday, PHS hosted its graduation, an event Maknani, who was a senior at the school, would have participated in. 

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