Missing Zachary teen found in pond, coroner says
19-year-old known as “DJ” had been missing for 15 days
ZACHARY, La. (WAFB) - The body of a teen who had been missing for more than two weeks was discovered in a retention pond near a subdivision in Zachary on Wednesday, March 2, according to the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office.
The coroner’s office positively identified the body as that of Donovan Jones Jr., also known as “DJ,’ 19, of Zachary, on Thursday.
Jones had been missing from his home on Windridge Drive since Feb. 16.
Family, friends, classmates, and loves ones have been searching for Jones in the Meadow View subdivision, as well as its surrounding areas. On Feb. 20, they held a prayer vigil for him at New Pilgrim Baptist Church in Zachary.
Nearly a week after he went missing, the family offered a $10,000 cash reward to try to “bring DJ home.”
A group of kids spotted Jones’ body in the retention pond of the Meadow View subdivision while riding four-wheelers around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, according to the Zachary Police Department.
Assistant Police Chief Darryl Lawrence said Zachary police officers responded to the scene and then contacted the coroner’s office and the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab.
“We concentrated a lot of resources and time in this area to locate him,” said Lawrence. “It is a little disappointing that we didn’t find him earlier.”
Family, friends, and neighbors of Jones gathered to pray near the retention pond Wednesday afternoon.
Those who knew DJ held hands while fighting to hold back tears, just hoping the body found was not his.
“You want to hang on to hope because you got to get through something this traumatic,” said Rhonda Matthews, Donovan’s cousin.
“This is where the last place they think that he was sighted. And just to be with each other at this time, even with the speculation,” she added.
“He was very loving. When I tell you he was a sweetheart, he was a sweetheart,” continued Matthews.
The case remains under investigation.
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