Family sues Missouri over 2018 drowning in Castlewood State Park


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Three years after a Florissant woman was swept away in the Meramec River and drowned in Castlewood State Park, her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Rose Shaw died in Aug. 2018 while trying to save her friend’s daughter, 12-year-old Deniya Johnson. According to our partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Shaw and Johnson were wading in the river with three other people when they encountered a drop-off in the river and all five went under. Shaw was 35.

Deniya Johnson also drowned in the river.

Bobbiere Shaw, Rose’s mother, filed the suit last month and is apparently seeking a jury trial. The suit names the DNR and two other defendants, identified only as “John Doe 1” and “John Doe 2.” The suit says they acted with negligence because there were no lifeguards along the Meramec and the DNR failed to close off access to that part of the river.

Including Rose Shaw and Deniya Johnson, at least 18 people have drowned in the area since 2000.

In June 2004, a 19-year-old man drowned while fishing in the river.

In 2006, five young people drowned there in a single incident. Four of them were siblings. Nine more drownings would follow, including two people in June 2016, the most recent cases.

And in June 2021, a 16-year-old Webster Groves High School student drowned while swimming in the river with friends and family.

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