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Two drown at Castlewood State Park

A warning sign at Castlewood State Park

A sign at Castlewood State Park warns of the dangers of swimming in the Meramec Rivers there.

On Aug. 11, the Meramec River claimed two more victims at Castlewood State Park.

St. Louis County Police officers from the West County Precinct responded to a call for service of a possible drowning at approximately 2:34 p.m. Police report that a group of five was in the river. The group consisted of an adult male, an adult female, and three juvenile females. The group went underwater. Citizens present in the area assisted three of the five and got them to safety. Two of the five were unaccounted for. A significant search effort was launched and after approximately seven hours, both were located by Metro West Fire Protection District divers.

Deceased from apparent drowning are 35-year-old Rose Shaw, of the 1300 block of Tahoe Drive in Florissant, and 12-year-old Deniya Johnson, of the 2500 block of Littlefield Drive in Florissant. Johnson is a friend of Shaw’s daughter.

Numerous agencies contributed in the rescue effort, including Metro West Fire Protection District, West County EMS & Fire, Monarch Fire Protection District, Missouri Parks, Missouri Park Rangers, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Water Patrol Division. The incident is being investigated by the St. Louis County Police Department’s Bureau of Crimes Against Persons.

While it has been some time since a life was lost in this part of the river, close calls or near misses occur frequently. Fire Chief G. Michael Krause would like to remind everyone who would like to enjoy our natural bodies of water such as the Meramec River that “these tragedies are preventable if people would wear personal flotation devices (life jackets) when they are in the water. If that were the case, we would have far fewer emergencies such as these in the river.”


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