GLENDALE -- The La Crescenta community has suffered another loss.
James Jenkins, 19, a star boys' basketball player and swimmer at
Crescenta Valley High School from 1998 to 2001, was found dead Thursday
after apparently falling while hiking with his father, Dr. Horace
Jenkins, in June Lake near Yosemite National Park.
James Jenkins -- who recently completed his freshman year at San Jose
State University, where he was a member of the men's basketball team --
had separated from his father early Wednesday morning.
According to the Mono County Sheriff's Department, an overdue hiker
was reported at approximately 9:26 p.m. Wednesday.
A search of the area was conducted by the Mono County Search and
Rescue Team through the night, with assistance from a Naval Air Station
Fallon helicopter and flight crew, the report stated.
Jenkins' body finally was located at the bottom of Rush Creek Falls at
around 1:55 p.m. Thursday by search and rescue team members.
According to Shannon Kendall, public information officer for the Mono
County Sheriff's Department, no other information about the incident was
available late Friday. The Mono County coroner's office conducted an
autopsy Friday and is continuing its investigation.
Jenkins' friends and family were stunned.
"James was a kind, considerate, hard-working young man who cared about
the people around him," said Jim Smiley, Jenkins' basketball coach at
Crescenta Valley High School.
"It's a loss that's tough on us all."
Family and friends have been gathered at the Jenkins' household since
Thursday. According to Smiley, all the members of the basketball team
from the past two years have shown up to offer support.
The family released a statement to the News-Press that read: "The
Jenkins family would like to thank the CV community for their love and
support. This overwhelming response has given our family strength. James
was proud to be a Falcon and proud to be a part of this community."
In addition to other honors, Jenkins was a two-time News-Press Male
Athlete of the Year.
According to Nancy Upham, who handles public affairs for the Inyo
National Forest, the fall to the bottom of Rush Creek Falls is about 120
"It's very steep," said Upham, who has been working at the forest for
16 years. "In all my time here, I can't remember an incident like this.
This is very unusual."
Jenkins' death is the third in recent years involving a former
Crescenta Valley High male athlete.
Baseball player John Barbaro was killed in a train accident on April
29, 2001. He was 19. On June 26, 1999, basketball player Danny Morris
collapsed at his house and passed away. He was 20.
"This community has taken a real hit the past few years," Smiley said.
"I just wish it would stop. It doesn't seem right."
A funeral service for Jenkins is planned at 2 p.m. June 8 in the
Crescenta Valley High auditorium.
He is survived by his mother, Mary, father Horace, brothers John and
Jason and sister Mary Ellen.