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19-year-old missing after jumping into American River last week

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Don't be the river’s next victim. Use the Sacramento Drowning Accident Rescue Team’s tips to save yourself from drowning.

Searchers continued looking Monday for a 19-year-old man who went missing last week after jumping into the American River.

Raymond Cabalfin Jr. went to Lake Clementine Trail in Auburn on Thursday with friends. He tried to cool off shortly before noon by jumping off a rock into the river, about three-quarters of a mile upstream from a popular swimming hole known as Clark’s Pool.

Cabalfin was swept away instantly, and by the time his friends called 911 and ran downstream to intercept him, he was no longer in sight, Cabalfin’s family said. Park rangers at Auburn State Recreation Area responded immediately and searched the area for seven hours but were unable to find Cabalfin.

“It’s not likely that he is alive,” said Mike Howard, superintendent of the Auburn State Recreation Area. “We had enough … people search the area, and if he was alive, we would have found him.”

Officials are asking the public to stay out of the American River. The historically large snowpack this year has made water flows higher and colder. The river was 54 degrees the day Cabalfin went missing.

“The river has more than double its historical flow right now,” Howard said. “Dangerous situations can happen in a matter of seconds when you enter the water.”

Soon after Cabalfin vanished, his family launched a GoFundMe account and had raised more than $1,000 by Monday. The money will be used to fund official search operations and family-led private search efforts.

Cabalfin graduated from West Campus High School in Sacramento.

“He grew up in a traditional Asian family and was very sheltered,” said Evan Alexander, the boyfriend of Cabalfin’s older sister.

Cabalfin liked to exercise at a local gym and was in a “really good shape,” Alexander said. Alexander was expecting Cabalfin to become a nurse or doctor one day, and he was disappointed to see how officials handled the investigation.

“We feel that not enough has been done,” Alexander said. “Parents were not notified by any agencies about the incident. They only heard about it from his friend who was there when he was swept away.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Placer County Sheriff’s Department at 530-889-7800.

The drought is over, but that doesn't mean the end of calamity for Northern California – the abundance of rain and snow could produce more wildfires and drownings, officials say.

Walter Ko: 916-321-1436, @juntaeko

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