Marvin Morales

Marvin Morales

ASHLAND CITY, TN (WSMV) - The body of missing 18-year-old swimmer Marvin Morales has been found, according to investigators on scene.

Cadaver dogs with Nashville OEM found Morales' body and Morales' mother identified the body. Morales went missing Monday near the Cheatham County Dam.

Cheatham Dam area body recovery

Cheatham Dam area body recovery

On Tuesday morning, investigators turned the search into a recovery mission.

Since early yesterday afternoon, rescuers searched in the Cumberland River for Morales. Investigators say Morales dove off a dock and never came back up.

Morales' family said he was with friends when it happened. Several different agencies used boats, sonar equipment, K9 officers, and divers to find him.

A Cheatham County EMA official tells News4 they have had to consider all of the possibilities, some of them being that Morales could have hit his head or got tangled in debris.

News4 has learned that a specialized camera from Chattanooga was brought up to help with the search. Officials say finding Morales was a difficult task.

"The challenge that we've run into is the bottom where you look, there's a lot of rocks, tree debris down there so it's really tricky to see all the spots down there. The challenge that while we hope to have a good outcome, we just haven't been able to locate anything yet."

Morales' family wants the incident to highlight the dangers that come with swimming in the river.


ASHLAND CITY, TN (WSMV) - Rescue personnel are looking for an 18-year-old man who disappeared while swimming in the Cumberland River near the Cheatham County Dam.

Investigators said the teen from Springfield dove off a dock and never resurfaced. 

The family of the teen identified him as Marvin Morales.

Morales' family wants this incident to highlight the dangers that come with swimming in the river.

“What just happened, I don't feel like going in the water," Daniel Felipe, a bystander said.

Felipe said he got to the park with friends after Morales disappeared.

Morales' family said he was with friends. They got a call from someone about what happened and rushed over.

“It's horrible. You can only imagine one of your family members standing there with you one minute and the next they're gone," Dan Schaeffer with Cheatham County's EMS said.

Since that terrifying call to Morales' family, crews from different agencies have been using boats, sonar equipment, K-9s, and divers to find Morales.

Some of the conditions with the river like the current, murky water, and cooler temperatures have the made the search difficult.

“When somebody drowns, depending on their size, water temperature, those type of things, it makes it awfully difficult to locate somebody in a real quick manner," Schaeffer said.

Schaeffer said Morales could have hit his head or got tangled in debris. Those are all possibilities crews are considering as they look.

“Things like this I mean, I don't want nobody to go through it," Felipe said.

A specialized camera is on the way from Chattanooga to help with the search.

Crews plan on working through the night, but if there’s no sign of Morales, they’ll reconvene in the morning. 

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Cameron Taylor is a national Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist who joined the News 4 team in December 2018.


Alexandria Adams joined the News4 team as a reporter in October 2017.

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