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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.

jamie hussein August 06, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Thoughts and prayers to him and his family in this very difficult time......
Teresa K. August 07, 2012 at 12:40 AM
re:" Alcohol was present, and family said Christopher had been drinking"..... a 12 yr. old was drinking with permission from his stepfather who was the only adult present? I wonder if he drank too much and wandered off? I hope he is found safe and quickly. Even a 12 yr. old is still a little boy. with that many present, I am sure one of them saw something that should lead to his whereabouts.
Kyle Mathew Davis August 07, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Hope ya find him!
Lindsay Toler August 07, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Hello all! To those asking about the drinking: Yes, Christopher had reportedly been drinking. We can't prove it without his body, so we chose to make his disappearance the story, not the possible drinking. I hope that helps! -LT
jenn c August 07, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Well, if he wasn't drinking there might not be a missing boy. Even if it was just the "adult" drinking, very irresponsible only be around children. Either way, I pray for his safe return. Hopefully the "adult" here has learned a valuable lesson.
burrd August 07, 2012 at 04:25 AM
I hope Christopher is found and brought home safely. I think the main concern and focus at this point is to find Christopher. The issue with him drinking will have to be dealt with at some time later. I don't know what the circumstances were, but if true, shame on his step father but pointing fingers at him right now, won't make things any better and I'm sure (and hoping) he is already feeling remorse for his bad decisions. Praying for this family!
Tammy August 07, 2012 at 04:43 AM
I don't know where you heard it was a crime scene, considering no crime has been committed. They are saying they don't want volunteers because its to rough of an area and they didn't want anyone else lost or hurt.
Tammy August 07, 2012 at 04:46 AM
they are saying it was a tube of chapstick
Lindsay Toler August 07, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Tammy, you are totally right. Police said they were worried about terrain, having additional situations arise, etc. They also said if it becomes clear a crime WAS committed (such as an abduction), they didn't want volunteers in the scene. Thanks for keeping me honest!
Mom 2 six August 07, 2012 at 05:01 AM
**Alcohol was present, and family said Christopher had been drinking** thats knowing what to do? Drink at 12 years old???? And the family knew about it? OMG some people.......
KAS August 07, 2012 at 06:07 AM
KAS Prayimg for this family that Christopher is found safe and sound!!! God works all kind of miracles, and may you just believe what he can do for you!!!
Jaime Lynn Payne August 07, 2012 at 06:14 AM
I didn't really get along with Christopher very well but I really really hope he is okay and is brought home safely! He is being missed EXTREAMALLY and I have been praying all day... Knowing Christopher he might have had a sip or two but it still isn't right... I MISS YOU CHRISTOPHER AND SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE!! I am going to try and help search today if I can... You are in my prayers Christopher! I miss you and hope you're okay...
Deb August 07, 2012 at 09:03 AM
I believe Channel 4 reported that his twin sister said he had 3 little sips of beer just to taste it. What kid hasn't done that, especially around that age? The troubling thing to me was the sister then said he reported feeling "hyper & excessively energetic" after the sips of beer which is why he went to do the rope swing. Let's not persecute the family for being HONEST with this detail. If you "strictly forbid" something to a middle schooler the more they seek it out because of the "forbidden allure" it takes on. My parents let me taste their beer & cold duck and it was DISGUSTING to my young taste buds at that age so it immediately lost ANY appeal to me it might have had. This, to me, is the RESPONSIBLE way to handle a kid's curiosity about alcohol. Let's just all pull together and hope for his safe return. No need to cast aspersions on the panic-stricken family right now - seriously folks!
Amber August 07, 2012 at 09:32 AM
To andy, his mother wasn't there, and I know she wouldn't of allowd the drinking, she loves her kids to no end and would do anything for them. And at this point it shouldnt make a difference cause the big issue is they can't find him. Blessings to the family. Love you guys.
April August 07, 2012 at 10:26 AM
I hope for a safe return for Christopher. Why is a 12 yr old drinking. They should'nt have allowed a 12 yr old to wander off bu himself. I will keep him in my prayers.
Mike Penrose August 07, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Would you people stop focusing on a few sips of beer! These people simply did what thousands, probably millions, of families have done for YEARS! They were enjoying a summer weekend camping and swimming. Yes, he experimented with beer, they didn't get him drunk! Stop throwing rocks before you shatter your own perfect little glass houses! Say a prayer, say something positive, or say nothing. We are working hard to find this boy and help his family through this horrible time!!
Sandra Dressel August 07, 2012 at 12:49 PM
To help with confusion- his twin was not at the BBQ and has not been in the vicinity of the search. He has another sister who did speak with reporters. Also his mother was not present at the BBQ. Please pray he returns to his mammas arms safely!
suzycreamcheese August 07, 2012 at 05:01 PM
you're kidding right?? he's a hostage to fortune as so many children are.
suzycreamcheese August 07, 2012 at 05:03 PM
uh huh so where was God when he disappeared?
suzycreamcheese August 07, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Deb, I'm a teacher, and I wouldn't let you within 100 miles of my kids. Period.
Jennifer David August 07, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Thank you Jenn C! That's exactly what I was thinking. If he was abducted would he have been able to fight them off or get away if he hadn't been drinking? If he was hurt where they were playing would it have happened if he was fully sober? Is there any chance he was hurt while drinking or from drinking and it was covered up? First they let a 12 year old drink, then they let him out of their sight after he's been drinking? The adults in his life weren't thinking at all!
Tammy August 07, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Lindsay, I wasn't trying to be smart or anything like that, so I'm sorry if it came across that way. I live about 10 mins from where this is happening and it breaks my heart, because my daughter and my grandson go there and swim all the time. I am still holding out hope that they find him alive and well. I can't even imagine what his parents and family are going thru. I continue to pray for all of them.
Lindsay Toler August 07, 2012 at 06:26 PM
No worries, Tammy! You come across as being emotionally-invested, as so many of us are! This is a tough story.
Tammy August 07, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I am really sickened how some of you people are judging this family. You act like this is the 1st time a young child who is with his family has ever tasted beer.. He had 2 or 3 sips of beer, there is no way that he was drunk and for you to think he was is crazy. The main focus here should be finding this young man. I can't imagine what his parents and family and friends are going thru. I am praying that he is not in the water. I live about 10 mins away from where this is happening and I've been in the area, there is alot of ground to cover and its very rough terrain, I'm holding out hope that he is lost in the woods somewhere, and they find him quickly. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with Christopher's family. And just remember those who live in glass houses should not be throwing stones!!
jezabell August 07, 2012 at 06:43 PM
"Alcohol was present, and family said Christopher had been drinking"...i know that many cultures include alcohol, but in my opinion a 12 yr old shouldn't have been drinking and especially not around water...my thoughts and prayers to family and friends...please people, think before you give a minor alcohol...it can end so very tragically when you do....
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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