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CCISD confirms missing teen is Je Sani Smith

Posted at 5:35 PM, Apr 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-12 19:20:40-04

The Corpus Christi Independent School District has confirmed that Je Sani Smith, a senior at King High School, is the district student who remains missing after swimming with friends at Whitecap Beach Thursday afternoon.

There still is no sign of Smith as rescue crews continued what is now being termed as a “recovery operation.”

Counseling services were available for students and staff at King on Friday. Those will remain available for those seeking assistance.

“We respectfully ask for privacy while we focus on caring for our district family,” CCISD Superintendent Roland Hernandez said. “We appreciate the outpouring of support from Corpus Christi and beyond.”

It was a difficult day for King High School students as they remembered their missing friend.

“Everybody’s been posting about him and that’s ‘really all that’s been on Snapchat since yesterday,” said King student Christian Barajas. “That’s all I’ve been seeing, constantly.”

Smith was a member of his school’s basketball as a senior. He also played with King’s football team earlier in his high school career. He earned honorable mention all district honors in basketball as a senior.

King basketball coach Sean Armstrong said that Smith is one of the most coachable and respectful players he has ever coached.

Armstrong called him “the ultimate team player” who easily made friends with all in the program.

King assistant basketball coach Evan Hartlaub reacted to his disappearance in this tweet released this morning.

Smith’s disappearance occurred shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday when two teens lost sight of one of their friends while all were swimming off Whitecap Beach.

The two were able to make it back to shore safely. Then, rescue operations began for the missing young man.

Overnight, the U.S. Coast Guard continued their search by air, using both a helicopter and an airplane.

After concluding their search last night at sunset, the Corpus Christi Fire Department was back out at the beach at daylight.

Additionally, a Dolphin helicopter and 45-foot boat have been deployed from the Coast Guard attachment in Port Aransas. Other apparatus that have been added include the Coast Guard Cutter Benjamin Daily and an HC 144 medium-range airplane.

This morning, the King High School Band tweeted a link to a GoFundME page that has been set up to raise money for the family’s expenses.