Police identifies possible drowning victim

 UPDATED 1:57 PM HST Apr 09, 2012
KEAAU, Hawaii -

Big Island police said a body was found near Shipman Beach in Keaau that matched the description of a missing swimmer.

Police have identified the person as 17-year-old John Joel Nicholas Buentipo of Keaau.  His body was found at 7:25 a.m. Saturday.

Police have initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and an autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Puna patrol officers responded on Friday at about 1:34 p.m. to a reported swimmer in distress at Shipman Beach.  Buentipo was swimming with a friend and began to struggle.

A friend lost sight of Buentipo, swam to shore and called the fire department for help.

When officers arrived, several fire department crews were already on scene including a helicopter.

The initial search had to be suspended in the late afternoon due to poor visibility and rough ocean conditions.

The search was resumed Saturday morning and shortly after the body was found.

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