Kara Wrice Missouri model drowns in Meramec River at Castlewood State Park after drinking. Straight A teen who worked as lifeguard hoped to make it in NYC.
Kara Wrice, a 16-year-old standout junior at Webster Groves High School, died Friday in the Meramec River in Castlewood State Park, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The teen — who had worked as a model for two years, appearing in ads for Famous Footwear – was drinking at the state park with a friend before she drowned, her father said.
At the time of the tragedy, Kara wasn’t wearing a life vest when she joined other adults and a friend in the unpredictable raging water FOX2News.
‘She was a straight-A student,’ the girl’s father, Karl Wrice told the St Louis Post Dispatch. ‘She was also a teenager who made a very not-good decision.’
Teen model poised for ascent
The ‘incident’ led to the park being closed to the public as rescuers searched for Kara, whose body was recovered later Friday. Heavy rain in the area over several days made for increased risks for swimmers, St. Louis County police said.
The teen was at the park with a friend, her father said, and had been drinking when she went under the surface of the water and didn’t come back up. He hadn’t known she was at the park until he and Kara’s mother were notified that she was missing.
‘When the water is up, the entire dynamic of the water changes out there, currents and everything,’ Sgt. Tracy Panus told the St Louis Post Dispatch on Friday. ‘You can be the strongest swimmer and it doesn’t matter.’
At 14, Kara signed with Mother Model Management, the Post-Dispatch reported. The St. Louis-based agency discovered stars like actor Ashton Kutcher and former Victoria’s Secret model Karlie Kloss, according to its website.
The agency previously posted a photo of Kara on its Instagram page in August 2020, saying Kara was ‘young but stood out’ among other aspiring models in the crowd.
‘When Kara came in for the first time, she was quiet and soft spoken, but we quickly found that she was really a fireball full of personality,’ the social media post read. ‘This girl is comfortable in her own skin, brimming with confidence, full of energy and such a natural when it comes to modeling.’
Kara had modeled for Famous Footwear and was hoping to later move to New York City to take her career to new heights, her father told the Post-Dispatch.
‘She had got my personality; she was a rock star,’ Karl Wrice said. ‘She didn’t have an enemy – very extroverted. She left a large footprint – many people have reached out to me since.’
Did the strong swimmer underestimate the river currents?
The modeling agency, meanwhile, remembered Kara as a star ‘in the making’ in an Instagram post Monday afternoon.
‘We are heartbroken,’ the post read. ‘Devastated. She was cherished. A truly special girl and an important part of Mother.’
‘She was a leader, a bright spot in our day,’ the agency said. ‘We KNEW she was destined for great things, inside and outside of the modeling world.’
Kara played volleyball along with being a strong swimmer her father said. Ironically, the teen athlete also worked as a lifeguard.
She’s survived by her father, her mother Lisa and three brothers.
At least 17 people drowned or died in boating accidents last month throughout Missouri, eclipsing the mark during any previous June in the past decade, the Post-Dispatch reported.