After a search of the upper Kern River that lasted more than a week, the body of a 28-year-old Arroyo Grande man was found Saturday, according to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department.
Derrick Rush’s body was found by campers Saturday afternoon less than two miles downstream from where he fell into the river more than a week ago, according to the Tulare Sheriff’s Department. His body was positively identified soon after its discovery.
Rush was last seen July 8 while tubing with friends and family. Rush fell into the water, and he did not emerge.
The swift-running river water was about 50 degrees, and Rush did not have cold water gear, a helmet or a life jacket, a Tulare Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said.
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Rush’s sister, Diana Ricker-Pritchard, said the group was floating on a calmer spot of the river in what she described as raft-style boats. Family members aren’t sure how Rush ended up in the water. One of his other sisters told Ricker-Pritchard that she last saw her brother holding onto a branch.
“We don’t know if he fell in or jumped in or what at this point,” said Ricker-Pritchard.
Another one of Rush’s friends also ended up in the water but was pulled to safety, she said.
The search began soon after Rush fell in the river, when family and friends contacted law enforcement.
Rush, a correctional officer at California Men’s Colony since March 2006, was the father of two daughters, ages 10 and 6. He played football in high school — always wearing No. 23. He served as assistant coach at Arroyo Grande High and played on a team with some of his co-workers, said Ricker-Pritchard.