The Kern River has claimed the lives of 295 people since 1968, when the county started keeping track. Jared Andrews Jr. was last seen three days ago, on Saturday morning, falling into the river’s powerful current.
As of Monday, search and rescue crews are still on a mission to find him.
The “Killer Kern” has its nickname for a reason.
“This river is very, very dangerous. The current is fast,” said Sergeant Steve Williams, part of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team. “It’s more than you can even imagine as far as the power.”
The river is the last place Jared Andrews, Jr. was seen, before he was swept away.
“He’s the type of son any parent would wish for. Just a perfect all around kid,” Jared Andrews, Sr. said of his son Wednesday, days after Jared first went missing.
“I can’t explain to you how I feel,” his father said. “My son is out there somewhere. I just hope he can be found safe.”
Jared and his girlfriend Eva Morales were visiting from Hawthorne in Los Angeles County; camping Saturday morning with Morales’ family near Lake Isabella. They climbed up on rocks near the river’s edge to take photos, when Jared fell.
“I personally never saw him again after he slipped,” said Morales.
Members of her family tried to rescue Jared. One even risking his own life to dive in after him. But the current is fast and, according to his mother, Jared isn’t a strong swimmer.
“Unfortunately, we have witnesses who saw him floating face down, believed to be unconscious, and eventually saw him be pulled underneath the water by the current,” Sergeant Williams said.
Still, his family is hopeful that Jared could turn up.
“I truly believe that God is watching over him,” said Jared’s mother, Brenda Bush.
Search and rescue crews have no plans to stop their mission until he’s found.
“The search will not stop. It’ll go day in and day out,” Sergeant Williams promised. “There will be folks searching every single day until we find him.”
Jared’s family and friends are meeting Tuesday morning at the Shell gas station in Lake Isabella (6209 Lake Isabella Boulevard). They plan to handout flyers and do what they can from shore to help find their loved one. They have invited anyone in the community who would like to help, to join them there at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.