Wisconsin community heartbroken over teen missing on Alabama beach

REEDSVILLE, Wis. (WFRV) -- Sadness has swept over the Village of Reedsville in Manitowoc County after a family's beach vacation turned tragic.

16-year-old Jevon Lemke was pulled under by a rip current in Fort Morgan, Alabama on Sunday afternoon after he dove into the water to save his dad and stepmom, who were being pulled by the current.

Lemke is still missing as search and rescue crews spend hours in boats and helicopters, scouring the water for signs of him.

Many of Jevon's friends have known him since childhood.

"Since third grade, when I got here, when I was new, he was probably one of my first friends and ever since then we got along and have stayed together through high school," Shaun Thomas, one of Jevon's friends, said.

It didn't surprise Shaun that Jevon went into the water to rescue his family members.

"He's the type of kid who would jump in and try and save someone. He always was looking to help someone," Thomas said.

A Neenah family staying in a beach house just 75 yards from where Jevon went missing has watched the crews searching the area, while Jevon's family is on the beach, with their eyes glued to the water.

"We walked down there this morning, early, at 6 a.m. and we saw the grandpa and the dad just still standing by their lawnchairs and we were told, I didn't talk to them, we were told that they didn't leave that spot all night long and they obviously looked stricken and tear-faced and very sad," Jill Minks of Neenah said.

She says many tourists are staying out of the water after Jevon disappeared under the current.

"Today the beach is very treacherous," Minks said. "I mean even walking on the beach the sand is whipping on your legs and it hurts it's effective it's definitely something we're staying off of right now. Today we stayed in, we played games, we went downtown for a little while, most of the families are doing that right now."

While the search for Jevon continues, his loved ones in Reedsville are holding their memories of him close by.

"He'd always stick up for you, he'd always be there for you, and every memory I have with him, he's always smiling in them," Thomas said.

The Wander Springs Golf Course in Greenleaf, where Jevon worked, is collecting donations to give to the Lemke family for any expenses relating to this tragedy.

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