Search Continues For Missing Teen Duck Hunter

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VMRC logo. Screenshot of VMRC image.

By Carol Vaughn —

The search for a teen who went missing while duck hunting off Chincoteague is ongoing.

“The search has been reduced to daily patrols by the officers by sea, land, and air. We are committed to the recovery of the young man and bringing closure to the family,” said Matthew Rogers, Virginia Marine Resources Commission chief of law enforcement.

The missing 17-year-old, identified in social media posts as Nathan Jenkins, and three other young men from the Warren County, Va., area were duck hunting in Chincoteague Bay Saturday, Jan. 22, when their boat capsized.

Eyewitnesses reported the 16-foot jon boat was struck by a wave around 9:20 a.m., causing it to capsize.

Two people were rescued by a Good Samaritan and transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injures, according to a press release from the VMRC.

The United States Coast Guard recovered the body of Cory Alles, 19, of Bentonville, Va., that day, according to the release.

Water temperatures at the time the boat capsized were in the low 40’s, with air temperature in the low 20’s and wind gusts ranging from 12 to 15 miles per hour, according to the VMRC.

A funeral service for Alles will be held Saturday, Feb. 5, at 11 a.m. at New Hope Bible Church in Front Royal, Va., with a visitation Friday, Feb. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Browntown Baptist Church, where Alles was a member.

According to his obituary, Alles was a graduate of Skyline High School and worked as a machine operator. He loved hunting, fishing, diesel trucks, and spending time with family and friends, according to the obituary.

He is survived by his parents, Devin and Michelle Alles; sister, Laura Rose Alles; and grandmother, (Oma) Juliana Dykhuizen.

Around 100 people participated in a vigil for the victims held Tuesday, Jan. 25, outside Browntown Baptist Church, according to an article in the Northern Virginia Daily.

“During the vigil, Alles was remembered for his good work ethic and politeness. Speakers shared stories of how he saved a cat and helped a neighbor build a fence. Others recalled his love for fishing and hunting turkeys.

“Devin Alles, Cory Alles’ father, said ‘there’s nothing that nobody can give me and my wife right now. Except the prayers, and the concerns and the thoughts. Keep those coming. The only thing my wife and I truly want right now, that ain’t possible,’ he said,” according to the Jan. 26 article by Charles Paullin.

Suzzanne King, a friend of the Jenkins family, also spoke at the vigil, talking about the bond among the four young men and others in the area, according to the article.

“‘They look out for each other,’ King said. ‘It’s amazing how they all are together. All four of those boys experienced something that no one ever wants to experience. Please just keep that in mind. Let’s stay kind and hopeful and prayerful.’”

Acquaintances in the Front Royal area have organized a meal train for the Jenkins family, who were in Chincoteague but returned home.

Donations to the family may be made online at https://reachingoutnow.org/donations/nathan-jenkins-search/

Chincoteague Mayor Arthur Leonard said the close-knit town is devastated by the tragedy.
“Even though the young man was a visitor, there’s been so much outpouring of local concern. Anytime somebody goes down in the water around here, everybody reacts to it,” Leonard said last week when asked about the ongoing search for Jenkins.

Chincoteague residents have joined in the search and in prayers for the victims and their families, and businesses on the island have organized fundraising events, including a fundraiser last Sunday at Teaguer’s Pub and Restaurant and at Ropewalk, where a portion of sales Monday evening were donated.

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