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Parents of missing teenage kayaker expand search efforts across Kentucky

Shawn and Melissa Stover say they couldn't do it without all of the incredible support from friends, family and strangers.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It's been nearly three weeks since Jacob Stover disappeared and every since, search crews have been hard at work.

The Prospect teen went kayaking on the Ohio River on the morning of Jan. 10 and never returned home. Since Stover's disappearance, friends, family and a group of volunteers have been assisting both Kentucky and Indiana law enforcement in the search. 

Now, the family and the search team are asking for more volunteers to help distribute flyers. For the first time, WHAS11 spoke to Jacob's parents, Melissa and Shawn, who say they are blown away by the continued support.

"We all feel quite helpless but we really appreciate just the desire to want to help," Melissa said. "Folks who don't know us but just saw the story and are thinking about Jake and reaching out it's really heartwarming it means a lot."

"They're the ones that give us the strength to continue to come out, the desire to bring our son back home," Shawn said.

Together, they are enduring extensive efforts to find the puzzle pieces to Jake’s disappearance. Melissa says they have to recheck areas that have already been extensively searched. Many areas of the Ohio River twist and turn.

"Because the river changes so much day to day. What I can see today I may not see tomorrow and vice versa," Melissa said.

Credit: WHAS-TV
Shawn and Melissa Stover

"We're hoping that if there are some items from his kayak that have been floating along the way that maybe they've gotten caught up in those areas where the river turns," Shawn said.

So while they re-examine those spots, they are also asking for more volunteers to hand out fliers at places like convenience stores, gas stations, local businesses and churches. The more people who know what they are looking for, the better chance they have of finding them. 

Their search efforts have expanded to Brandenburg but they are looking to go even further. Now Jake’s parents are asking for assistance from people who know areas like Owensboro further down the river.

If you’re able to help guide them, or are looking for ways to give your support, visit their Facebook page and reach out. You can also find details about the latest opportunities to volunteer and the most up to date information on that page.