Police: Missing Teen in Merrimack River was a Hoax, Charges ‘Probable’

Haverhill Police called off the search for a 17-year-old boy who had allegedly gone missing in the Merrimack River Tuesday night after investigators determined on Wednesday morning that the report was a hoax. Now authorities are saying the teen responsible for sparking the search may face charges.

Detective Lieutenant Robert Pistone said that the search began at approximately 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday after a 13-year-old boy reported that his friend had stolen a boat, picked him up, and then went missing after falling overboard.

Search teams worked for three hours before suspending the search at approximately 11 p.m.

After planning to resume their efforts on Wednesday morning, Haverhill police announced that the search was canceled. According to Pistone, a subsequent interview with the 13-year-old boy revealed that his story about a missing friend was a lie.


Police now say that the boy, along with another juvenile boy, stole the boat and were only able to travel a short distance before losing power. The reporting teen’s friend swam safely to shore and the 13-year-old stayed on the boat to wait for rescue crews.

Pistone said that police are “confident that all parties are accounted for’’ and that “the investigation is ongoing and charges are probable.’’

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