TETON COUNTY, Wy. -- Authorities in Wyoming confirm they have found the body of a University of Georgia student who went missing while rafting on a river.
Oliver Woodward, 21, was rafting with a group on the Snake River south of Hoback Junction on July 4, authorities said. While going through rapids called the "Kings Wave," Woodward and another person were reportedly ejected from the raft.
The Teton County Wyoming Sheriff's Office were able to find one of the two. However, officials were not able to find Woodward, who they said was not wearing a life jacket.
Crews searched the river after he went missing until it got too dark to see. Rescuers searched all day Wednesday with no success and returned to continue searching Thursday morning. By Friday, crews had expanded their search to include more land, but determined that they would begin scaling back their efforts.
Authorities continued to hand out missing persons flyers to local fishermen, boaters and other users of the waterways. On July 7, the sheriff's office said they would be moving on "to the next stage of this event" and offered their condolences to Woodward's family.
On July 12, more than a week after he disappeared, they had recovered his body. According to the Teton Sheriff's Office, a kayaker found the 21-year-old's body around 10 a.m. in Lincoln County, Wy. It was positively identified as Woodward through dental records.
According to his mother Julia, he had a landscaping job this summer in Jackson Hole.
"He wanted to be there because it was so beautiful and wanted to be in the mountains," his mother told 11Alive.
She said five of her son's Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity fraternity brothers flew out to Teton County to assist in the search. But the resolution was what Woodward's family feared from the moment he was ejected from the raft.
On Facebook, family wrote that they were "rejoicing that his earthly body has been recovered and they will return to Atlanta within a few days...(we) greatly appreciate they amazing outpouring of love and support provided by so many friends and families over the last week."
Woodward is a graduate of Holy Innocents' Episcopal School in Atlanta and was a rising senior in the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia.
His family is planning a memorial service in his honor.
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