Body of Missing Indiana Teen Discovered in State Park

( – The body of an 18-year-old high school student from Indiana was found in a state park early Sunday evening, leading to a tragic ending to his family’s search.

Carson Hughes was reported missing by his family around 1:30 PM on Friday, March 15th. It appears his family knew he went to Versailles State Park, which features a 230-acre lake. Hughes apparently went to the park to take photographs frequently.

Hughes, originally from Osgood, Indiana, approximately 70 miles southeast of Indianapolis, was an avid photographer who had a large following on Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram for his photography pages. On Facebook, he had over 16,000 followers, and his Instagram had over 23,000 followers. His posts revealed a deep love for nature and wildlife, often sharing his excitement at being able to capture animals in their natural settings. He often shared pictures of wildlife native to his area, including bald eagles, river otters, turkeys, whitetail deer, elk, and horned owls. A pinned post from February featured photos of a leucistic bald eagle, which Hughes expressed that he felt “blessed” to have the opportunity to take pictures of.

Hughes’s vehicle was found near the boat ramp at the lake, unlocked and with the keys still inside. While investigators were able to find his kayak on the water near the boat launch, there was no trace of Hughes to be found. Local authorities used side-scan sonar and thermal technologies to search for Hughes near where his vehicle and kayak were found.

According to the Ripley County Indiana Emergency Management Agency, over 150 volunteers joined the search for Hughes on Saturday, March 16th. The search for Hughes was suspended on Saturday night due to “potentially unsafe search conditions,” but resumed first thing Sunday morning.

Unfortunately, Hughes was not found alive. On Sunday, March 17th, divers using sonar located Hughes’s body in six feet of water. An autopsy was conducted on Monday, March 18th, and the preliminary findings indicate a likely cold-water drowning. A final autopsy report and official cause of death will be shared after toxicology reports are concluded.

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