WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. – Community members have identified the teen who drowned in the Meramec River at Castlewood State Park as 16-year-old Kara Wrice of Ballwin. She was a model and student-athlete at Webster Groves High School.
Mary Clarke, co-owner of Mother Model Management, said Kara Wrice was a “young bright, effervescent person. She was the girl in the room that was inviting to all the other girls, encouraging, she had a natural confidence about her.”
Emergency officials said Wrice went missing around 3:15 p.m. Friday. A water rescue dive team, Metro Air, fire, and EMS responded to the Meramec River near Scenic Trail at Castlewood State Park. Wrice was reportedly swimming with adults and friends in the river. Emergency crews said she went underwater and didn’t resurface and was not wearing a life vest.
Clarke said Wrice signed with the modeling agency in Jan. 2019. They had just gone on a trip together to Iowa three weeks ago. She said they were heartbroken when they received the phone call Friday night.
“It feels extra painful because she had so much going for her in her future,” she said.
The head coach of the Webster Groves High School girls volleyball team said Wrice had a bright future ahead of her in the sport. He said the team is tight-knit and they canceled practice Monday because everyone was shaken up.
The district sent a message to families in regards to the incident.
“It is with a heavy heart that I must share with you a tragedy in our Statesmen family-WGHS rising junior Kara Wrice tragically drowned Friday. Our administrative team has reached out to the family.
“Counselors will be available for students, as needed, to help them work through their grief and emotions.”
“We have seen so many drownings this year, more than any year that I can remember,” Eureka Fire Protection District Chief Scott Barthelmass said. “This river is going to take you in a minute or two minutes. Once you’re down, you’re down.”
A GoFundMe has been created to start a scholarship in Kara Wrice’s name.