The search for a missing Cedartown teenager ended in tragedy on Saturday as the body of Jesus Betancourt-Torres was found after he was reported missing early last week.
Law enforcement officials reported the 17 year old was found Saturday afternoon after an organized search party including local residents, church members, law enforcement and fire department officials assembled in the morning.
A media release from the city of Cedartown explained the body was located in an area outside of the Cedartown city limits, and both the Cedartown Police Department and the Polk County Police Department are handling the case.
Officials say there are no apparent signs of foul play, but an investigation is still pending.
Polk County Coroner Norman Smith reported that the young man’s body was discovered in the woods somewhere off of Prior Station Road. The cause of death is still under investigation pending the results of an autopsy.
The high school sophomore had been missing since Monday, Feb. 8, from the 5th Street area of Cedartown, not far from where Prior Station Road starts just west of West Avenue.
Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome said Friday that the teenager’s family had been fully cooperative with law enforcement and police had been in close communication with them in recent days.
Newsome and Cedartown Police investigators had searched an area Thursday but had not found any evidence of Betancourt-Torres.
A message on the Polk School District Facebook page expressed condolences for the student’s family and Cedartown High School.
“Polk School District grieves with our Cedartown High School family over the loss of sophomore, Jesus Betancourt-Torres. Please join us in remembering his family and the CHS faculty and students. We are #PSDstrong #bulldogstrong”
Saturday’s discovery is just the most recent tragedy to hit the Cedartown community, specifically Cedartown High School.
Sisters Gracie and Ava Reed died in a tragic car crash on U.S. 27 south of Cedartown on Thursday, Jan. 21. Gracie, 16, was a student at Cedartown High School and was driving while her little sister Ava, 12, was a passenger. Ava attended Cedartown Middle School.
Then on Sunday, Jan. 24, senior MJ Whatley, a senior football player at Cedartown High School, was found unresponsive in his home and pronounced dead.