MOUNT VERNON — Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer provided a departmental update Thursday to Knox County commissioners, addressing the body found in the Muskingum River near Dresden on Tuesday. At issue is whether the body is that of a 15-year old boy from Nepal who swam and then disappeared in the Kokosing River near Honey Run Waterfall Park on June 11.
As of Thursday afternoon, Shaffer said he was unaware if a positive identification of the body had been made, with the Muskingum County sheriff working with officials in Montgomery County who are providing coroner’s autopsy services. A positive ID was still possible at any time.
“So the only way to get information is for Muskingum (County) to call Montgomery (County),” Shaffer said. He added a reason coroner’s services are so far away is that there was a recent series of five fatalities in Coshocton and Licking counties, so their officials could not handle the body. And Franklin County does not take bodies from outside the county areas.
Shaffer also said that he and another law enforcement official met with the family of Narayan Darnal, 15, originally of Nepal, at their residence in Columbus. The meeting followed the Knox County Sheriff working with dive teams from other areas, including Fredericktown, Licking County and Coshocton County, to search for the body over three days. The meeting was held in Columbus to make the family more comfortable and provide interpreters when needed.
“It was a good conversation,” Shaffer said. “They were appreciative for everything we’ve done.”
The family indicated to Shaffer they had consulted with a psychic about the specific location of their son. He was to be a freshman this fall at Northland High School in Columbus. Darnal was one of three juveniles who were under the supervision of a school counselor when Darnal’s body disappeared in the Kokosing River on June 11, Shaffer said. The Kokosing River water level was high that day — with fast surface and even faster underwater currents due to heavy rains and increased river water volume, large rocks in the area, crevices, next to no visibility under water — and a large downed Sycamore tree in the water as well.