Police Search for Missing Affton 12-Year-Old Boy

St. Louis County Police are looking for Christopher Marks, a student at Rogers Middle School, who went missing Sunday evening in an unincorporated area of St. Louis County near Eureka.

St. Louis County Police Department officers are searching for a missing boy, Christopher Marks, 12, who attends Rogers Middle School in Affton.

Christopher was last seen by family last night at 7:30 p.m. after he went to play on a rope swing over the Meramec River in the Pacific Palisades Conservation Area.

Donna Sherman, Christopher's great-aunt, of Sunset Hills, said family members were told by police they do not believe Christopher's body is in the water in the immediate area of the river where the incident occurred. Sherman said more than 12 hours of continuous searching have not turned up any confirmed clues.

See related story on Patch:

Christopher was at the river with about seven children, ranging in age from 12 to 16 years old, and one adult, Christopher's stepfater Todd Combs, according to Sherman.

Alcohol was present, and family said Christopher had been drinking, according to KMOV.

Sherman said Christopher shared twin telepathy with his twin sister Anna-Marie since they've been young. "They were nothing alike, but they felt one another's pain. Anna-Marie felt Chris last night, but today she's just feeling empty."

"He's just a very outgoing kid," Sherman said from the conservation area where Christopher is missing. "He likes being outside. He likes swimming. He's just a good kid."

Police say they sent divers back into the water further downstream and brought in more bloodhounds to help in the search.

"We're so hoping he got out of here," said Sherman, who stayed at the accident scene all night. "He was a Scout, and he's been camping. He knows where  is from here. He's a tough 12-year-old, and we're praying he got out."

Christopher was with his family in the 18,000 block of Franklin Road in the Pacific Palisades Conservation Area, which is an unincorporated area of St. Louis County. Pacific Palisades Conservation Area is a 695-acre tract in Jefferson and St. Louis Counties immediately east of Pacific and three miles from Interstate 44.

Investigators said 12-year-old Christopher is a white male, 5-foot-3 to 5-foot-4, who weighs approximately 130 pounds. He was wearing blue or black shorts, with no shirt and no shoes. An endangered person advisory was issued for Christopher at 3 a.m. Monday by the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Divers and bloodhounds have arrived at the area to aid in the search.

Christopher will enter the seventh grade at Rogers Middle School, and the Affton School District said officials have been in contact with his family.

"Christopher and his family have been a part of the Affton community for many years," said Jeff Remelius, principal at Rogers Middle. "He is a great kid, student and friend. The school will offer any and all support at our disposal. We will have school counselors availible for students and the school community."

The Jefferson County portion of Pacific Palisades Conservation Area is 1.5 miles south of Pacific on Route F, then one-tenth-mile east on English Road. The boat ramp is located in St. Louis County off Route 66, which is an outer road of I-44. The area contains forest, cropland, old fields, and the Meramec River, as well as sand and gravel pits with seasonal fishing.

A Eureka police officer confirmed with Patch the search is being handled by St. Louis County officers. A search has been active since last night. Family members of the child are still at the scene.

Anyone with any information about this endangered child is asked to call St. Louis County Police at 314-615-5360 or or .

Online, those searching for Christopher use the hashtag #searchforchristopher.

Christy Luts August 07, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Okay, maybe a sip or two is okay, AT HOME. But at a RIVER? When it's getting dark? Really? And then letting that child who has had "a couple sips" which I bet you it was more than that, with all those teenagers there probably drinking as well, they probably thought it was funny to give him some beer. And then they let him wonder off by himself after all of that? By himself to swim in a river that can be very dangerous? Say what you want, but this step dad wins the worst parenting skills of the month award.
Melody August 07, 2012 at 08:35 PM
The boy was at the rope swing with his stepdad and seven other kids... yet NO ONE noticed him wandering off or saw him while he was in the water? I find that hard to believe, especially with the stepdad right there. You'd think of all people, HE would keep an eye on the boy.
Felicia August 07, 2012 at 10:34 PM
I must say at first i was disapproving of the drinking but then i read on and have to agree to some degree with Mike Pensrose and Deb. If they are gonna experiment, and we all know they are- we all have - wouldn't you want it to be around family? And not his young and probably irresponsible friends who may or may not be able and willinge to assist him in a dire situation becausw they all ahve been drinking. I agree that you have to be honest and open with our children give them knowledge and prepare them for this crazy world we live in. If that means at sip or two of beer so be it. What i dont understand is why they allowed him to go near the water. Drinking and being around water to me is dangerous and irresponsible. The adult or adults were responsible for his well being. Many prayers in the search for finding Christopher safe and unharmed and bring him home either way
Jennifer David August 08, 2012 at 12:41 AM
You can make excuses all you want for them giving him beer. There isn't a good one. You don't give a 12 year old CHILD booze. If his parents had given him a joint you wouldn't be sitting there saying oh it's ok because all kids do it or oh it's so much better to do it at home. You'd be blasting them. But since it's booze it's all ok. Well bullcrap. It's not ok. Period . This child may be dead because the family didn't care enough to actually watch and parent him. First they let him drink, then they let him wander off alone into the water. How can anyone rationalize that to being ok? Do you raise your children this way? Is that way all the people are so ok with it? Are they shoving booze down their little Timmy's throat? What happens if we find out that he's dead because he was drinking? Will everyone still be defending the NEGLIGENT parents?
Richard August 08, 2012 at 04:51 AM
They have found the body...RIP Christopher...all I am going to say about this is the fact that the step father should rot in hell for buying this kid alcohol!!!


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