The body of a 16-year-old youth was found the morning of July 24 by members of the Maine Warden Service Dive Team, after he was reported missing late on July 23.

According to Lincolnville Police Chief Ron Young, the Lincolnville Police Department received a call from Maine State Police and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office for an agency assist at 5 p.m. on July 23, regarding a missing swimmer last seen swimming near the ledges on Fernald’s Neck.

Young said the boy was Devon Stewart of Warren.

Young said July 27 that an autopsy done the previous day had ruled the death was an accidental drowning.

Stewart was one of a group of four, who were attempting to swim across the lake to Camp Bishopswood from the ledges. According to Young, about a quarter of the way across to Bishopswood, the boy called to his friends that he was going back.

Young said the other boys in the group said the last time they saw the swimmer, he was swimming, and they assumed he went ashore at the ledges.

As they were swimming back from Bishopswood, they started hollering to him to see if they could find him, Young said.

Young said Stewart’s body was found at a depth of 20 feet, at the place about 30 feet offshore where the boy was last seen.

Young, Lincolnville Police Officer Brian Lunt and Maine State Police Detective Jason Andrews searched the woods the night of July 23. The Warden Service Dive Team joined the search that night and continued until the body was found on July 24.

The Camden Fire Department, Waldo County Emergency Management Agency, Maine State Police, Camden First Aid Association and Camden Lake Patrol all assisted.

“Some kids have been up there,” Young said. He said the rocks had been spray painted with a cross and other graffiti.

“It’s private property,” he said. “I know we’re all grieving, but vandalism and trespassing won’t change the situation.” He said he understood the desire to express sorrow at a time such as this, but there were better ways to handle it.

Young said Lincolnville police were investigating the graffiti and would work to clean the rocks.

“It’s not a place to swim,” he said. Young said it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get from the Lincolnville police headquarters to the lake, and more time would be needed for a boat to reach the rocks, should something happen there.

“We’d appreciate it if they’d stay off it,” he said.

Visiting hours for Stewart will be Wednesday, July 28 from 5 to 8 p.m. and a funeral is scheduled for Thursday, July 29 at 2 p.m. Both will be at the Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home at 110 Limerock St. in Rockland. Contributions may be made to the Devon Stewart Memorial Fund at Camden National Bank.

A Facebook page has been created in Stewart’s memory.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by e-mail at sauciello@villagesoup.com.