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  1. ITV Report

Police to be investigated over teenager drowning in River Thames

Ellis Downes drowned after going swimming in the River Thames. Credit: Family

The police watchdog is to investigate a police force over its response to a missing teenager whose body was found in the River Thames.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it was launching a probe into the actions of Thames Valley Police, after claims it failed to get its own divers to the river in search of Ellis Downes.

The 16-year-old's body was recovered from the Thames on May 9 by volunteer divers who responded to an appeal by his family.

Darren Downes, Ellis' father. Credit: ITV News

The teenager from Harwell, near Didcot, went missing two days earlier after going swimming in the river at Culham, just south of Abingdon in south Oxfordshire.

IPCC associate commissioner Guido Liguori said:

We will carry out a thorough investigation so we can try and answer the many questions that have been asked about the police response to this tragedy.

Our investigation will also consider whether any lessons can be learned by the police.

– Guido Liguori, IPCC associate commissioner
The riverside search for missing Ellis Downes Credit: ITV News

Thames Valley Police has already apologised to Ellis's family and referred the case to the IPCC itself.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said the force had been informed of the IPCC's decision to investigate Ellis' death.

Our thoughts are with his family at this time and we have been in touch with Ellis's family today to let them know of the IPCC's decision.

– spokesman, Thames Valley Police
Flowers left on the banks of the River Thames. Credit: ITV News