Missing boy found dead Cummins Falls

COOKEVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Parts of Cummins Falls State Park remained closed on Tuesday after the drowning death of a 2-year-old boy on Sunday.

The park has been closed since Sunday’s massive water rescue after a heavy downpour.

The Jackson County Emergency Management Agency said 65 people were trapped and most were rescued quickly. About 14 people had to be actively rescued.

Two-year-old Steven Pierce disappeared during the search and his body was found early Monday morning.

The falls at the park, a popular swimming destination, will remain closed through at least Friday, according to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The closure will allows Tennessee State Parks to assess the incident on Sunday.

People arrived at the park on Tuesday, disappointed to discover the park was closed when they pulled up to the gates. They were being directed to the nearest state park, Burgess Falls State Park, about 20 miles away.

Cummins Falls’ beauty lures countless tourists each summer. The falls are a good way to cool off in the summer.

The cooling, calm waters can rise to dangerous levels in only minutes if a storm laden with heavy rain is in the area.

Tonya Poston owns the general store directly across from the park. She said few people wading in the falls are unaware of the lurking danger if it starts raining like it did on Sunday afternoon.

“I believe the problem is not so much the gorge area where the falls are, actually when you have to cross the river twice to get to it,” said Poston. “People hit panic mode trying to get across the river with that much water coming down. It’s pretty horrific hitting your feet yanking your feet from underneath you, trying to cross the river getting to higher ground.”

Poston said most people are unprepared when they go into the water.

“Although the state has it posted on their website of the warnings of the dangers involved, folks don’t take the time to read that before they come, don’t understand the danger of it,” said Poston.

There could be a light rain in the area, however there is flash flooding upstream, all that water rushes down the falls in minutes.

Funeral services for Steven Pierce will be held on Friday at Lakeland Chapel in his hometown of Eddyville, KY.

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


Alan Frio is the anchor of News4's evening newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays.

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