WEDNESDAY PM UPDATE:
A body found at 5:00pm by the recovery team at Deerfield Lake IS that of Justin Lewis.
TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:
By: Jason Tarr
The recovery operation for Justin Lewis will continue Wednesday at Deerfield Lake, the Pennington County Sheriff's Office said in a release.
A team from Idaho will bring in a boat with additional sonar equipment. Also, a dog team from Colorado that specializes in deep under water recovery will also be at the lake.
To help the family, friends and family have organized a fundraiser, said Joanne Lewis, Justin's aunt. The Justin Lewis Family Benefit and Silent Auction is scheduled for Sunday, June 24 in Hill City from 2-7 p.m. at the Silver Dollar Saloon.
Included in the benefit is a silent auction with items donated by local businesses in Deadwood, Sturgis, Spearfish, Rapid City, Keystone, Custer and Hill City. There will be entertainment for all, with local musicians, games, face painting, and prizes for kids as well as a variety of BBQ foods and drinks, Joanne Lewis said.
Also, an account has been established at First Interstate Bank for the Justin Lewis Benefit Fund.
The Lewis family issued the following statement Tuesday:
"... The Lewis' would also like to take this time to say how extremely pleased and grateful they are to ALL of the agencies and communities that have assisted in the search for their son. Everyone has been above all, kind, compassionate, and understanding. They would also like to especially say thank you to the members of the Pennington County Sheriff's department, who have most definitely gone above and beyond to not only aid in search efforts but to give current updates, encouragement, understanding, and constant presence and care to the family ..."
TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE:
By: Jason Tarr
The sonar equipment and dive team operation will continue throughout the week in the search for Justin Lewis, said Lieutenant Marty Graves of the Pennington County Sheriff's Office.
In addition, a dog team out of Colorado that specializes in deep mountain lakes will join the effort Wednesday.
Also, an effort is underway to bring in a special crew from Idaho to aid in the search, Graves said.
A family friend tells KOTA Territory News, that search and recovery crew will be coming in from Idaho June 13 with its custom sonar equipment. Friends say several fundraisers are either underway or in the works in Hill City to help bring that crew in from out of state to search for Justin.
Lewis went missing on Memorial Day.
By: Taisha Walker
The use of sound is helping divers navigate and detect objects under water at Deerfield Lake, all in hopes of finding Justin Lewis.
Sound from South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks' sonar --- Toefish -- is helping water rescue team divers see 66 feet below the lake's water. A signal is sent back to the boat through a fiber optic cable which downloads an image to the boat's computer.
"The computer shows us an image of what might be there on the bottom," said Conservation Officer Supervisor Brian Meiers, with SD Game, Fish & Park.
"We're covering quite a bit of the lake," said diver Brian Povandra. "We've got sonar out here that is hitting on points and sending our divers down to confirm what that point is that they're seeing on the sonar."
So far the 17–member diver team has found a boat, a car and several tires but no sign of the 15–year–old kayaker.
Nor is Mother Nature providing them much help.
"The wind is making the job harder, Povandra said." "We've had a couple of the thunderstorms roll through in the last few days which has made the water very turbulent, very, very unclear. It's difficult to see."
Still, divers and the search and rescue team aren't giving up hope, even as efforts move into a third week. They say the main image they're focused on is finding Justin.