Officer recognized 42 years after he died searching for missing teenagers on the Ky. River

kward1@herald-leader.comJune 17, 2014 

David Thomas Childs

State police on Monday recognized a Kentucky State Police Water Patrol Officer who died on the job in Frankfort more than 42 years ago.

David Thomas Childs, 39, died while searching for two Louisville teenagers who had been reported missing when their canoe was swept over the Lock 4 dam of the Kentucky River on April 8, 1972, according to a news release from state police.

The teens were later found unhurt, but Childs and Trooper James McNeely, 37, died. State police said the river was swollen from rain, and there was a swift current.

Childs' body was recovered from the Ohio River near Tell City, Ind.; McNeely's body was never found.

KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer presented a flag to Childs' son, Roy Childs, of Frankfort, at a memorial ceremony at state police headquarters in Frankfort on Monday.

The April 11, 1972 edition of the Lexington Herald said that "it takes the death of policemen, such as the drowning of State Trooper James McNeely and Boating Officer David Childs, to remind the public of its collective debt to the men of the safety forces who each day risk their lives in an often thankless profession," according to the news release.

At the time of the men's deaths, the state police were responsible for enforcing boating safety laws. That responsibility was transferred to the state Transportation Cabinet in November 1972, the release stated.

Karla Ward: (859) 231-3314. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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