Officials discover body of missing swimmer

A Forrest County dive team has recovered the body from the Leaf River of a 16-year-old swimmer who went missing Monday.

Steve Blanchard, 16, disappeared around 3 p.m. in Petal where the Leaf and Bouie Rivers meet along Highway 42.

According to witnesses, Blanchard and friends were swimming near the Highway 42 bridge when the teen became too tired, went under and never came up.

Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict determined the cause of death to be drowning.

Hattiesburg firemen, Forrest County deputies, and Petal Police immediately began search and rescue efforts after receiving the call. The Forrest County SWIFT team discovered the young man's body.

Meanwhile, residents were combing the river downstream along East Hardy Street in case a body may have drifted there.