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16-Year Old Missing, 11-Year Old Dies Following Incident in Surf at Gleneden Beach
03/09/2008
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247

A 16-year old Aloha-area boy is unaccounted for and an 11-year old Westfir boy died following an incident early Saturday afternoon in the heavy surf at Gleneden Beach north of Depoe Bay on the Oregon coast.
 
On March 8, 2008 at approximately 1:15 p.m. two separate, unrelated groups were at Gleneden Beach for the weekend.  One of the groups that RIVER JENISON, age 11, from Westfir, was with saw he was having trouble in the surf.  An adult male and two 15-year old males went into the water to rescue the boy but all three had trouble in the heavy surf and had to return to shore.
 
Personnel from North Lincoln Fire & Rescue, Depoe Bay Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police responded.
 
At about 2:00 p.m., Dennis Knudson, a Depoe Bay firefighter, spotted JENISON in the surf and he was brought to shore.  Medical personnel started treatment at the scene and the a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter transported JENISON to Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital where he was in critical condition until he died later that day.  JENISON was a 5th grader in the Oakridge school district.
 
Approximately one hour after the initial incident began, members of a separate group reported ROSS BARFUSS, age 16, from Aloha, was unaccounted for and was believed to have gone into the water in an attempt to rescue JENISON.  Emergency responders searched until about 4:15 p.m. for BARFUSS but were unable to find him and suspended this effort.
 
The father of ROSS BARFUSS told Oregon State Police that he was a junior at Aloha High School.  The family had moved to Aloha in June 2007 after living 8 years in the Pendleton area.  The BARFUSS family came to Gleneden Beach on a family outing when ROSS spotted the boy in the surf and went to help him.  The families did not know one another.
 
On Sunday, March 9th, approximately 40 - 50 members of their family's church came to help continue looking for ROSS BARFUSS.  A local Subway sandwich business also donated food to those helping in the search and recovery effort.