Chaperones cleared pool hours before 12-year-old's body was found: campground

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

Church chaperones reportedly checked a swimming pool for a 12-year-old retreat-goer during the hours-long search for him at a York County campground — a search that ended with the discovery of his body in the pool early Thursday morning.

Staff at Summit Grove Camp & Conference Center posted a statement to Facebook, saying chaperones from Westminster Presbyterian Church couldn’t find Pau Khai, of Lancaster County, following a Wednesday afternoon spent at the campground's pool in New Freedom.

According to the post, Khai was apparently among those swimming there from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the Lancaster-based church’s retreat program. Afterwards, church members reportedly cleared the pool to head to the next event. That, according to the campground's statement, was when they noticed the boy was missing.

Messages left with the church were not returned Friday.

Southern Regional Police released this photo of 12-year-old Pau Khai.

The campground said chaperones reported having checked the pool and searched the area with no success. A 911 call was made, Southern York Regional police responded and officers joined in the search.

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Police said Thursday Khai was reported missing around 4 p.m. and was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and swim trunks.

Officials investigate the pool area at Summit Grove Camp & Conference Center is shown in New Freedom, Thursday, June 30, 2022. Anthony Maenza photo

The search ran eight or 10 hours, starting in the late afternoon and into the early morning hours. According to the county coroner's office, Khai’s body was found in the pool around 2 a.m.

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“Pau’s whereabouts and what specifically transpired between 6 p.m. on June 29th and 2 a.m. on June 30th is unknown and the focus on the ongoing police investigation,” campground staff stated.

The York County Coroner’s Office said an autopsy was scheduled Friday in Allentown. Results have not yet been posted and the office has not yet commented on a possible cause of death.

Summit Grove Camp & Conference Center is shown in New Freedom, Thursday, June 30, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

— Reach Aimee Ambrose at aambrose@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.