Missing Teen Found in Cedar Lake

By Lee Hermiston, The Gazette

After an exhaustive search, emergency personnel discovered the body of missing teenager Logan Blake Tuesday afternoon.

“The body has been found and is recovered,” said Dr. Jim Coyle, a pastor and chaplain with the Cedar Rapids Police and Fire Departments. “Logan has passed on.”

Coyle, who is the Blake family’s pastor, said the body was discovered by firefighters around 4 p.m.

“Unfortunately it was not a good result today,” Coyle said.

Cedar Rapids public safety spokesman Greg Buelow said firefighters working in a rescue boat found the 17-year-old about 75 yards from the bank of Cedar Lake. His body was found in about three feet of water.

The discovery came on the heels of a wide-ranging rescue effort involving an urban search and rescue team, a camera-mounted tractor and land search teams made up of police, fire and city employees and 60 volunteers.

Blake had been missing since about 7:20 p.m. Monday. Buelow said Blake, 17-year-old David Bliss and 16-year-old Jacob Spurrell were playing Frisbee near the drain when Blake was swept in.

Bliss tried to retrieve his friend, but was overcome by water and pulled into the drain, Buelow said. Spurrell notified a passer-by, who called 911.

Strong rains that pummeled the region caused water to move swiftly through the sewer.

Logan was going into his senior year at Washington High School. Coyle described the teenager as a “very strong, very active kid” who had a love for parkour, a gynmasitc-style of running, who seemed to befriend everyone he met.

“I don’t think there’s a single person that knows Logan that didn’t absolutely fall in love with him,” Coyle said.

Counselors will be available to support the school community on Wednesday. Students, staff, and community members may visit the school to speak with a counselor starting at 8 a.m.

Watershed

Public safety maintenance manager Craig Hanson said the storm sewer Blake and Bliss traveled through to Cedar Lake is 9,000 feet long or more than a mile and a half. Bliss also was discharged into Cedar Lake but was able to walk to UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital, where he received medical assistance.

The sewer in question is part of the Kenwood drainage way. First Avenue NE serves as a watershed for the city’s storm sewer lines.

Lines west of First Avenue NE flow to Cedar Lake and those to the east flow to Indian Creek, Hanson explained.

The storm sewer starts as a 54-inch reinforced concrete pipe at the corner of 29th Street NE and B Avenue NE, runs along 27th Street NE and then goes underground, Hanson said. The pipe runs between Franklin NE and E Avenues NE and continues along the CEMAR Trail, Hanson said.

At the corner in the 2100 block of F Avenue NE, the line is joined by a second major line and the sewer becomes a box culvert. At that point, the diameter of the sewer is about six feet, Hanson said.

The sewer continues underneath 20th Street NE south of Mount Mercy University and under Washington High School’s practice field. The line runs parallel to E Avenue NE and continues to 17th Street NE and F Avenue NE.

At B Avenue NE, the sewer goes under the Coe College football field and continues north of 14th Street NE. Here, the culvert widens to 18 by 10 feet, Hanson said.

“You’re looking at a very large pipe at this point,” he said.

The drain then goes under Oakland Road NE and runs into Cedar Lake. Hanson estimated Bliss was discharged from outlets north of the rail yard.

Hanson said this pipe is traditionally half to three-quarters full, which would come out to roughly 67,000 gallons of water per minute flowing through the sewer. The water moves at a speed of greater than two feet per second, or 1.4 mph.

“We do not have to remove sediment out of this pipe,” Hanson said. “That means the peak flow rates are greater than two feet per second.”

In addition to search crews, collective system maintenance workers deployed a small, remote controlled tractor equipped with a closed-circuit television into areas inaccessible to the search and rescue personnel.

“It’s slower than human foot speed, but it gets the job done without putting anyone’s life at risk,” said Jon Durst, sewer supervisor for the city.

An autopsy will be conducted by the State Medical Examiner’s Office.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@sourcemedia.net

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