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UPDATE 2: Mom fears the worst about her son

Cary Ashby • Updated Nov 13, 2019 at 2:57 PM

Damian G. Henning’s mother said she fears the worst — her car driven by her teenage son is underwater, is being hidden in someone’s garage or that he may be dead.

Henning, 17, of Norwalk, was last seen about 2 p.m. Sunday at Kalahari in Perkins Township. He has worked at the resort as a deep-water lifeguard for nearly three months.

His mother, Bonnie Jackson, said they had a three-minute phone call shortly after he left work and Kalahari video surveillance showed he drove from the parking lot at 2:21 p.m. and another video from Speedway shows her Ford Mustang nearby six minutes later — but other than that, his family and friends haven’t heard from him.

“That’s it; I’ve never seen him again. … He never misses work,” Jackson said. “At this point, I’m thinking the worst.”

The Huron County Sheriff’s Office is continuing its search for the missing 17-year-old boy.

“He left work. He signed out. He drove out of the parking lot,” Chief Deputy Dave Ditz said. “Obviously we are very concerned about his welfare. … We want to make sure he’s OK.”

Henning is 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighs about 140 pounds. The teenager may be driving a yellow 2002 Ford Mustang with an Ohio license plate “HPH 4171.”

“That’s his mother’s car,” Ditz said. “As far as I know this is very unusual for him” to be missing.

Jackson agreed, saying her son typically drives straight home or will have “a late dinner with my mom” who lives near Kalahari. Henning paid $200 for VIP tickets for a concert Tuesday night in Cleveland. Jackson said if her son doesn’t show up there, her concerns truly “will be kicking in.”

It’s not unusual for her son to come home when his mother is in bed because of her work schedule. Jackson said she didn’t see the Mustang when she got up about 5:30 a.m. Monday, so she started making calls.

 

‘Tough place to be’

Henning is a junior at Western Reserve High School.

Western Reserve Local Schools Superintendent Rodge Wilson said it is out of character for Henning to be gone.

“Totally unexpected,” Wilson added. “He’s very responsible. He’s employed. He gets good grades. This is not like him.”

The superintendent described Henning as “a real asset to the building” who is a good student and athlete.

“He is very well-liked,” Wilson said. “Our hearts go out to his friends and family. This is a tough place to be in.”

 

Pinging his cell phone

Henning’s grandmother is the Verizon account holder for her grandson’s cell phone. Jackson said her mother can’t see what his text messages are, but has determined that his phone has “received a bunch of texts,” but there has been nothing outgoing.

“He hasn’t sent any out at all. We know that phone is laying out there somewhere,” said the mother, who fears the phone is in a median somewhere on Ohio 2.

With the assistance of the sheriff’s office, Verizon “pinged” Henning’s phone. Jackson said authorities have determined it most recently was at Ohio 2 and Campbell Road in Perkins Township about 12:30 p.m. Monday. The mother added that authorities are attempting to get nearby video footage from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

 

Seeking help

Henning’s uncle, Joshua Hancock, said on Facebook there were no updates about his nephew as of Monday night. He thanked people for sharing posts and encouraged Facebook users to call the Huron and Erie county sheriff’s offices if they have any information.

“The Huron County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency. Any assistance they need, we will give them,” Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said.

Chief Deputy Jared Oliver, in a separate interview, said deputies looked for the missing boy at several locations at the request of Huron County, but he hadn’t been located as of late Tuesday morning.

People who commented on the sheriff’s office post about Henning said they were praying for his safe return and the post had been shared in Knox County as well as Michigan, Fort Wayne, Ind. and Birmingham, Ala.

Deputies are working with the Erie and Wood county sheriff’s offices, Ohio State Highway Patrol and police departments in Perkins Township, Waldridge and Oregon (Ohio) since Henning has family and friends in those jurisdictions. Ditz said he’s not aware of any of Henning’s loved ones saying they have seen him and encouraged anyone who has information to call their respective law enforcement agency.

“Any strings we can find we are tugging on,” Ditz added. “We want to make sure he is safe.”

Anyone with information about Damian G. Henning is encouraged to call the Huron County Sheriff’s Office at 419-663-2828.

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