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Ste. Genevieve County, MO

Underage Drinking Concerns Follow Teen's Drowning

Underage Drinking Concerns Follow Teen's Drowning
By: CJ Cassidy

Ste. Genevieve County, MO -Preliminary autopsy results now show foul play was not a factor in 17-year-old Wade Lurk's death.

You'll remember, the teen disappeared in the early morning hours of April 1st, after attending an underage drinking party on the shores of Goose Creek Lake.

Police found Lurk's body inside his car in the lake yesterday.

Now as folks in the area mourn his loss, others hope the tragedy serves as a wake-up call to teens.

"It's just really heartbreaking," PJ Kertz says. The 18-year-old often hung out with Lurk, and says the grim reality that his buddy's gone hasn't set in quite yet.

What has hit home for Kertz: just how dangerous underage drinking can be.

"If you're at a party, and there's forty kids underage drinking there's no control," he says.

Investigators say Lurk was last seen crawling into his car after the party in the wee hours of the morning on April 1st.

They now believe he tried driving home at some point, took a wrong turn and ended up in Goose Creek Lake.

"We do know Wade was drinking. It's kind of tough to talk about right now because we just found Wade.

His family's suffering right now, they're a good family, a strong family, and good parents.They want everyone to know too this could have played a part in it," Cpl. Al Nothum with the Missouri Highway Patrol says.

"This is an extremely hard lesson to learn," Principal Sara Menard points out.

Menard brought in counselors to help students at Valle High School where Wade was a Senior.

Menard now hopes to bring in highway patrol instructors to educate teens on the dangers of drinking.

"Teenagers are like adults, despite what they know in their head, what they act out in their heart maybe two different things," Menard says.

P.J. Kertz agrees. After all he's a teen himself.

"You're not going to be able to stop the underage drinking and partying so next best thing is to make it safer. You can do that with chaperones. At that party there were no parents there. Most parties I go to have parents there, and nothing like this has happened. That's not to say it wouldn't, but the odds are better someone's not going to drive off drunk," Kertz says.

Investigators are still waiting on toxicology results.

Visitation has been set for Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Ste. Genevieve Catholic Church. A funeral mass will be held Thursday at the same church starting at 10 a.m.

It will be open to the public.

Now that they know what happened to Wade, his parents say they can begin to finally mourn the loss of their son.

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