Search and rescue underway on Arkansas River in La Junta as water levels remain dangerously high

A firetruck with the La Junta Fire Department parked to the side of a dirt road in Otero County near the Arkansas River for a water rescue.
Otero County Sheriff's Office
The Otero County Sheriff’s Office and the La Junta Fire Department are searching the Arkansas River, June 12, 2024, for a missing person in the water. US Army Corp of Engineers boats were also launched to assist in the search.

Updated at 2:13 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, 2024: A body was found in the Arkansas River just north of the BNSF rail yard Tuesday night, according to the Otero Sheriff's Office.

The body was transported to the El Paso County Coroner's office and while "the pants and shoes are consistent with information given to authorities" in connection with missing 19-year-old Devlin Cambuel, Otero County Coroner Robert Fowler said a positive identification has not been made. An autopsy report is also pending.

— CPR News' Stephanie Rivera

Original story below.

Young man in a graduation cap and gown wearing an orange, black, and white garland around his neck.
Otero County Sheriff's Office
The Otero County Sheriff's Office shared this photo of 19-year-old Devlin Cambeul. First responders have been searching in and along the Arkansas River in the La Junta area for the missing teen on June 12, 2024.

A water rescue is underway in La Junta, officials said Wednesday morning. The Otero County Sheriff's Office and the La Junta Fire Department are conducting the search and swift water rescue, and they have requested additional air and water resources to assist them. Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers are assisting in the search.

As of 5:15 p.m., authorities said 19-year-old Devlin Cambuel was still missing. They had been searching "in and along the Arkansas River." It's unclear if there are more people involved who needed rescue, though on social media the sheriff's office said another man was rescued earlier this morning in an unrelated incident. They have not shared any details about what prompted the rescue effort.

High water has triggered flood warnings for several days in Fremont and Pueblo counties. Those warnings led authorities to restrict water activities in Pueblo County earlier this week.

A flood warning for the Arkansas River in eastern Otero and western Bent counties began Tuesday night.

On social media Wednesday morning, Otero County Sheriff Shawn Mobley said the rescue is "a reminder that this time of year the river is running high and much faster than it appears and is clearly dangerous."