Accident at Lime Kiln Park results in two deaths

Staff Reports

On May 26th, around 4:14 p.m., the Neosho Police Department sent officers to Lime Kiln Park for a water rescue.

Officers were told a 12-year old girl had been pulled into the water by a strong current. A 34-year old male, identified as Trevor Hicks, attempted to rescue her and was also pulled into the water.

Both individuals were unable to escape the current.

“She was there with the people she lived with,” said Neosho Police Chief Jason Baird. “She was just below the dam, they were swimming just below the dam, and she got over in to deep and went under and I believe the current pulled her in.”

A sign urging caution when swimming near the dam.

A boat operator from the Mennonite Disaster Service spotted the juvenile in the river in a press release on May 30 from Neosho Police Chief Jason Baird. The Missouri State Highway Patrol responded to the location and confirmed the body was that of the missing juvenile at 7:52 p.m., 3.26 miles downstream from Lime Kiln Park. 

The Newton County Coroner’s Office said that the 12-year old had died due to drowning. Hicks had died due to anoxia from prolonged submersion, or lack of oxygen to the brain, early on the morning of Jun. 1.

Rescue attempts were made on May 26 and Hicks was pulled from the water 20 minutes later, unresponsive, and immediately transported to Freeman Hospital remaining in “critical condition” according to a press release from the Neosho Police Department.

Water levels remained high on Jun. 1 at the Public Fishing Access area on Lime Kiln road.

The 12-year old was not located and rescue attempted were called off at 9 p.m. on May 26, with local officials remaining on scene throughout the night.

The incident was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol (Water Patrol Division) and rescue attempts continued the morning of May 27, with rescue units from the Missouri State Highway Patrol (Water Patrol Division), Neosho Police, Neosho Fire Department, Newton County Rescue, and the Missouri Department of Conservation on the scene. The Newton County Sheriff’s Department assisted efforts with an aerial drone search.

Rescue attempts continued until 1 p.m. on May 27 but due to heavy rain, lightning and quickly rising waters, the search was postponed until conditions became safer to continue the search.

“The water was over the bridge on Lime Kiln Road,” said Baird. “It was way way above normal.”

On May 28, Neosho Police Department Lieutenant Mike Sharp said that the floodwaters remained too high for rescue operations to continue and would resume when the flooding receded. 

Sharp added they had talked to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Water Patrol Rescue Division and they said it would have to go "way down" in order for them to continue their efforts. 

Efforts to locate the juvenile continued on the morning of May 30 by the Missouri State Water Patrol, Missouri Department of Conservation, Newton County Search and Rescue, Neosho Police and Fire Department, Mennonite Disaster Service and Rapid Response Services before the body was spotted on the evening of May 30.

“You really need to watch for swift water,” said Baird. “If its swift, even adults if they get in so deep, will have trouble managing how they move. If there’s water with an undercurrent, stay away from it.”