Massive river search called off after teenager misleads police


METHUEN, Mass. ( -- Police began an intense search for a missing teen Tuesday night in the Merrimack River, but halted the search Wednesday morning after police say the boy who originally reported the incident misled police.

On Tuesday night, a 13-year-old told boy police that he and 17-year-old boy were in a boat on the river when it flipped over. The younger teen said he made it to shore, but that the 17-year-old remained missing.

The Harbormaster, Mass. State Police dive team and other officials searched late into the night Tuesday, dealing with obstacles like lack of light and intense brush throughout the evening. A helicopter with a spotlight was also used to help in the search. The search spanned through Methuen, but was focused on Haverhill by about 11 p.m.

Tuesday night, the Haverhill police chief said the 13-year-old's information was driving the investigation, but not all of the information he provided was accurate.

"At this time it appears that the teen boy in the boat acted alone by stealing a boat from a River St. dock and no one fell overboard," the statement on Facebook read.

Haverhill Detective Pistone told FOX 25 that police interviewed the boy for hours, until roughly 2:30 a.m. Wednesday before determining his story was a lie. They do believe the boat was stolen and that the there was another boy in the boat with the 13-year-old, but he was able to swim safely to shore.

Officials are unsure who the boat belongs to at this time and charges may be filed against the 13-year-old.