Search is on for missing swimmer

Several agencies are searching near the Cliffland Park River Access for a swimmer who went missing Monday.


According to a release from the Wapello County Sheriff's Office, the body of Michael Todd Chrisman, 25, was located on the Des Moines River around 9:30 Thursday morning.


Authorities say high waters and a swift current make the search for a missing swimmer difficult.

Michael Chrisman, 25, disappeared into the Des Moines River Monday evening. The Wapello County Sheriff's Office says Chrisman was jumping into the river off a rope attached to a nearby tree. Witnesses saw Chrisman go into the water, but did not see him resurface.

Since getting the call around 7:40 p.m. Monday, crews have rotated shifts searching the river. However, the search had to be called off Monday night due to a combination of darkness and safety issues.

"The river level is high and the current is really swift, so there is risk levels we have to take into account," said Sheriff Mark Miller. "We don't want to get hurt either. We try to have multiple boats out so if we're in distress we can get some help, so we pretty much called it when nightfall came."

Miller said the department received a great response from surrounding agencies that came in to help, including Eldon Fire and Rescue and the Fairfield Fire Department. As the search continues, how many crews are sent out and how long they search will depend on how many people and resources are available at a given time.

However, there will be a constant presence until Chrisman is found. Miller said the sheriff's office wants to help Chrisman's family get closure.

"The idea is just to go slow, be visual on your search, stay close to the banks and really keep your eyes out," Miller said. "The problem with it is the river level is so high and the current is so swift and there are so many variables when you're looking for someone."


As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, rescue workers had failed to find Michael Chrisman.

As many as seven boats have been in the water since early Tuesday Morning.

The area being searched runs from the Cliffland Park Access south of Ottumwa, down river to Douds in Van Buren County.


The Wapello County Sheriff's Office said in a press release that they are continuing efforts to find a missing swimmer.

Around 8 p.m. Monday night, the Sheriff's office received a report that Michael Chrisman had jumped into the Des Moines River and had not resurfaced.

Chrisman and several other individuals had been using a rope swing near the Cliffland Park River Access.

Officials searched for two hours on Monday night. They resumed the search on Tuesday morning.

Press Release from the Wapello County Sheriff's Office

On Monday June 20th, 2014 @ approximately 7:40 p.m. the Wapello County Sheriffâ??s Office received a 911 call that an adult male had gone into the Des Moines River near the Cliffland Park River Access and had not resurfaced.

The adult male was at the river with several other individuals that had been jumping into the river from a rope that was attached to a tree.

A search was conducted last night until approximately 9:40 p.m. The search is currently underway again this morning.

The Wapello County Sheriffâ??s Office is being assisted in this search by Eldon Fire & Rescue and the Ottumwa Fire Department.