Searchers recover body of missing teen at the Blue River Dam

Jason Moran played football at Franklin Community High School.
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Around 10:30 Sunday morning, searchers recovered the body of Jason Moran, 17, at the bottom of the Big Blue River dam.

He disappeared Friday afternoon, after friends say he entered the water to help a friend who became stranded.

"Once he went in for her, he died a hero in my book," said friend, classmate, and fellow football player A. J. Barr.

In the water Friday, Jason himself became stranded, which prompted a search that lasted three days.

Friends watched and waited throughout the weekend at the scene near the intersection of River Road and 252.

"It's been awful. I've cried a lot lately. He was such a close friend," Victor Brown said Saturday.

"I knew if it was me out there he would come here to support me. He's just one of those kids that is outgoing and loving and caring and I knew he would be there for me," Ryan Torrance said Saturday.

Despite rain early Sunday morning, water levels fell over the weekend which allowed search crews to get closer to the dam.

"At the base of the dam there's a depression and [a searcher] was able to get into that depression," said Lt. Bill Browne with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The search also proved to be emotional for crews. As the search ended Sunday, several members took time to hug and console one another.

"We're all human beings and this is difficult not only on the family, but those people who have searched," Lt. Browne said.

Jason Moran would have been a senior in the fall.

He just had his senior pictures taken last week.

"The family would like to thank the community for the support and prayers, especially Pastor Burton of the Who So Ever Will Community Church; all emergency personnel, including fire departments, national guards, sheriff's offices, and Indiana Conservation Officers. We'd also like the community to continue to support the other families impacted by this tragic accident. Our goal this weekend was to get Jason out of the water for closure and we did that. We're very appreciative, " said family spokesperson Ryan Bartlett.

Less than a mile from the Who So Ever Will Community Church, members opened their doors for loved ones as well as search crews to take a break and have a meal.

"The family is very close, a very tight nit family. Jason and his brother were very close," Bartlett said.

AJ Barr also felt close to Jason.

The football teammate returned Sunday. staring at the place that took his friend's life.

"Having someone that you've grown up with all your life not being there to finish your high school year and just not being there by your side, there will definitely be something missing," Barr said.

He tries to find comfort in the memories, like last week when they attended a graduation.

"I'd do anything to go back to that day last Sunday and be able to tell him hey I love you," Barr said.

A total of five people were in the water Friday. 
Two of them were taken to the hospital after being pulled unresponsive from the water.

Sarah McLevish and Michael Chadbourne, both 16 years old, were both listed in critical condition Sunday. A Go Fund Me website has been set up for Chadbourne here.

Two others were not seriously hurt.

The Franklin Community High School cafeteria was open Sunday night to offer support to friends and classmates. Fellow classmates tied ribbons around Franklin Sunday night in memory of the victims.

“We need everyone to stay positive and I think if we all stay positive we can all get through it,” said student Tracie Smith.

“We want people to see them and know that everybody is here for everybody and we are all supporting each other and to keep praying for everyone,” said Madi Kireta.

The coroner will determine Moran's exact cause of death.

Visitation will be held in the Franklin Community High School gym from 1-7 p.m. this Wednesday (June 11). A service will follow at 7 p.m. Moran will be buried in a private ceremony.

A fund for Moran has been set up at
Mutal Savings Bank in Franklin.

Previous stories:

June 7, 2014:  Crews spend Saturday searching water for missing teen; friends reflect
June 6, 2014:  Two teens hurt, one missing in Blue River Dam