Las Vegas Sun

September 1, 2014

Currently: 82° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Candlelight vigil for teen who died in storm is at 8 p.m.

Gathering to be held at school where William Mootz would have started his senior year next week

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Friends and family gather in the Green Valley High School courtyard for a candlelight vigil for William Mootz Saturday, August 25, 2012. Mootz drowned last Wednesday when he was swept away in flood water.

Updated Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012 | 12:16 a.m.

William Mootz Candlelight Vigil

Friends and family gather in the Green Valley High School courtyard for a candlelight vigil for William Mootz Saturday, August 25, 2012. Mootz drowned last Wednesday when he was swept away in flood water. Launch slideshow »

Missing Teen Found

Dolores and Trisha Mootz, the mother and sister of missing teen William Mootz, embrace after the body William was found Friday, August 24, 2012. William Mootz was swept away by storm run off in the Pittman Wash during rainstorms on Wednesday. Launch slideshow »

Search for Missing Teen

A Metro Search and Rescue helicopter drops off Search and Rescue Officer John Thayer during a search for Henderson teen William Mootz near the Duck Creek channel, north of Sam Boyd Stadium, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012. Mootz, a Green Valley High School student, was swept away by storm run-off in the Pittman Wash Wednesday. Launch slideshow »

Family to hold vigil at Green Valley High for teen

KSNV reports on Aug. 24 that a candlelight vigil will be held for William Mootz at Green Valley High School on Saturday.

Missing teen's body found

KSNV reports that William Mootz, a Henderson teen who went missing in the Pittman Wash on Wednesday, was found dead, Aug. 24.

Search for Missing Teen

A Metro Search and Rescue helicopter drops off Search and Rescue Officer John Thayer during a search for Henderson teen William Mootz near the Duck Creek channel, north of Sam Boyd Stadium, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012. Mootz, a Green Valley High School student, was swept away by storm run-off in the Pittman Wash Wednesday. Launch slideshow »

Vigil scheduled Saturday

A candlelight vigil for 17-year-old William Mootz is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at Green Valley High School, 460 Arroyo Grande Blvd., Henderson. Those attending are asked to gather near the school's "Committed to Excellence" sign.

William Mootz was supposed to start his senior year at Green Valley High School on Monday. Instead, the campus will host a candlelight vigil in his honor this evening, a day after searchers recovered his body in a marshy area about a mile from Sam Boyd Stadium.

Mootz, 17, had been missing since Wednesday, when he fell into the Pittman Wash near Stephanie Street and Sunset Road and was carried away by rushing waters caused by heavy rain.

His body was found around 10:30 a.m. Friday in wetlands west of Broadbent Boulevard, entangled in a grouping of trees and bushes and covered in a light layer of mud and silt, officials said.

Now the hours of searching and hoping will give way to reflection and remembrance. At 8 p.m., the Mootz family will hold a vigil for him at Green Valley High School in Henderson.

“It’s been a long three days. … Unfortunately it didn’t turn out the way anybody wanted it to,” said Charlie Mootz, William’s father. “We’re bringing him home.”

More than 600 volunteers, including students and teachers from Green Valley High School, Boy Scouts, the Red Rock Search and Rescue Team and others participated in the search, which stretched over three days.

Searching began almost immediately after reports that Mootz had been swept away during a heavy rainstorm Wednesday morning. During a news conference, Henderson Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Lytle indicated Mootz had put a foot into the channel and was pulled in by the force and speed of the water.

Henderson Police and Fire and Metro Police led the search, which covered land, air and water and included the use of helicopters and search dogs.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Henderson Police called off the search until Monday morning. But volunteers clad in heavy boots began showing up at 6 a.m. Friday to begin the search again, wading out into the muddy wash to search for Mootz.

“This is seriously rough terrain. For us to be able to cover that entire area by ourselves would take a significant amount of time,” Lytle said. ”Having all those volunteers to saturate the area was excellent.”

The search was called off shortly before 11 a.m. and the volunteers gathered back at the Sam Boyd Stadium parking lot, where a headquarters had been established.

The mood was tense as volunteers awaited any news on Mootz’s condition, and emotions spilled out when it was confirmed that a body matching his description had been found.

An off-duty Metro Police officer and other volunteers, including a close friend of Mootz’s, discovered the body about three-quarters of a mile in from where the concrete channel of the Pittman Wash ends near the stadium, Lytle said. The wetlands where the body was found had areas of chest-high water and was filled with muck and debris.

A Clark County Flood Control District spokesman said more than 5,000 cubic feet of water per second was cascading through the wash on Wednesday. The water speed, along with the channel’s raised walls would make it difficult for anyone to survive a fall into the channel, Lytle said.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 7 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. My condolences to the family. This is terrible.

  2. To the Mootz Family - Many hearts are breaking for you today. You tried so hard to save him. You did such a good job in a terrible moment. There are no words -

  3. Thank You to the Volunteers that continued to search for this young man, the professionals should never have stopped looking.

  4. So sorry to hear the outcome of this search. Sincere sympathy to the family and friends of this teen. Tragic!

  5. I will pray for this family's loss.

  6. My deepest condolences to the family. So tragic.

  7. I am so sorry for the family's loss. This story upset me so much. I am so, so sorry.