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Niagara Falls
Sunday, September 24, 2023
UPDATE: Police search for NOTL native missing in fast-flowing creek
Liam Neumann is missing after last being seen entering Twelve Mile Creek late Sunday night. SUPPLED

The search for Niagara-on-the-Lake native Liam Neumann continues after her went missing last Sunday in the waters of Twelve Mile Creek.

“The river has not given him up yet,” Neumann’s mother Barbara Worthy told The Lake Report on Wednesday evening.

Still processing the disappearance of her son, Worthy said she was not ready to talk about it.

“I’m trying not to talk about it because I just break every time.”

Worthy said she hasn’t eaten since Sunday.

“And it’s not for lack of food. My house is filled with people bringing food. I just can’t eat,” she said.

Worthy, well-known in NOTL for her work with the town’s museum, said police have been very helpful.

She said she appreciated their frankness, noting they were taking it “really seriously.”

Jordan Meyer said he met some witnesses Tuesday afternoon near where his lifelong friend was last seen Sunday night.

He disappeared in the creek’s rapids, where the river starts to bend, near Hillcrest Avenue in St. Catharines.

The creek runs roughly parallel to Ontario Street.

Meyer said a witness told him Neumann was floating down the creek on an inflatable raft with his dog Brody when he reached the rapids.

After paddling the raft closer to shore, he got out to pull it the rest of the way.

“He was still in the water – like at the bank of the creek – where it’s very steep, slippery, muddy, murky, rocky,” Meyer said.

That’s when he slipped.

“The rope for the boat must have slipped out of his hand” while he was in the water, Meyer said.

Rather than let it float away, Neumann “went after the boat to save his dog.”

He didn’t hesitate, Meyer said.

Niagara Regional Police spokesperson Const. Philip Gavin said that after the raft began to float away with the dog still onboard, Neumann “became distressed in the water, submerged and was not seen again.”

“The water in that area of Twelve Mile Creek is fast flowing with rapids,” Gavin said in an email to The Lake Report.

Meyer said the dog was found safe near the St. Catharines Rowing Club, along with some of the missing man’s belongings, including a backpack and cellphone.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gavin said police were “spreading their time between shoreline land searches and water-based searches.”

A canine unit was called in to help with the ground search.

Meyer said the dog was initially taken to the Lincoln County Humane Society, where a chip traced the owners back to Neumann and his mother.

Carol Perrin, a friend of Neumann’s family, said they were first alerted that he was missing Sunday night.

She said it is common for Neumann, who was raised in NOTL and living in St. Catharines, to take a tent and camp overnight near the creek.

Meyer said Neumann was out camping but no tent has been located.

On Tuesday he said he was out trying to help find his missing friend because he didn’t think police resumed the search quickly enough that day.

He said police were late to the search Tuesday morning, continuing to reschedule from 8:45 till they arrived at 1:30 p.m.

Meyer said he tried to contact the Canadian Coast Guard for assistance, but was told they needed a formal request from the police before they could join the search effort.

“I’m trying to do everything I can to find my friend because he’s been missing for 36 hours now,” he told The Lake Report on Tuesday afternoon.

Meyer said the police spent much of Sunday night and until 6 p.m. on Monday looking for Neumann, but called off the search, promising to come back Tuesday morning.

Gavin said police ended the search on Sunday “due to darkness and hazards in the area.”

Marine unit officers conducted water and shoreline searches Monday and Tuesday, he said.

“The currents of Twelve Mile Creek can be quite treacherous and, in some areas, negate the use of police divers,” Gavin said.

The creek is not the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard, Gavin added, “as it is an inland waterway.”

Meyer said he is still hopeful, but he worries that search efforts “won’t find him at all.”

Reached by The Lake Report, Neumann’s father Ron wasn’t sure if his son was out camping for the night, but was frustrated search efforts were late to start on Tuesday.

“All I know is that there’s major disappointment at the lack of work done today,” he said on Tuesday.

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