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911 call reveals drowned teen missing for almost 12 hours

Posted: 9:55 AM, Aug 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-11 11:21:35-04
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The 911 call reporting last week's drowning of 19-year-old Will Caver reveals that the adults supervising the party on a Dickson County farm lost track of the recent Montgomery Bell Academy graduate for nearly 12 hours.

As NewsChannel 5 first reported, Dickson County investigators are looking into whether adults -- some of them prominent in Nashville social circles -- illegally supplied alcohol to the dozens of recent graduates of MBA and Harpeth Hall attending the Thursday night party.

Property owner Forrest Conner, a local businessman and Republican activist, called 911 just before 11 a.m. Friday.

"We had a drowning," Conner calmly told the 911 operator. "He's in the middle of the lake. He's dead."

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Aerial views from Sky5 revealed a large pond and a deck seating area that appeared to be designed for parties. The Sky5 crew also spotted a large inflatable raft, capable of holding several people, that had apparently been used for the gathering.

Conner told the 911 operator that he was unsure about how long Caver had been in the water.

"Probably 11:30 is the last time he was seen," Conner said. "Last night at 11:30 p.m. -- that's not by me, but by another kid."

Conner, who has refused to answer NewsChannel 5's questions about whether he provided alcohol or allowed it on his property, told the operator that he had notified Caver's parents before calling 911. The Cavers were not present for the party.

In the 911 call (listen below), the Nashville businessman recounted how a farm hand had gone out in a canoe and found Caver's body.

After suggesting that Conner retrieve Caver's body from the pond, the operator told him that emergency crews were on the way and he should call 911 again if anything changed.

"There's nothing going to change here," Conner answered dejectedly.

An individual familiar with the situation tells NewsChannel 5 Investigates that there were several adult chaperones, who have now obtained attorneys as investigators question the individuals involved.

Several families also have been shopping for lawyers to represent the MBA and Harpeth Hall students as they are called in for questioning.

The Dickson County Sheriff's Office and DA Ray Crouch have refused to comment on the specifics of the investigation.

"I expect there to be charges," Crouch said Wednesday. "As to what extent and what exact charges, that will be determined by the investigation."

According to Caver's obituary, a service celebrating his life will be held Sunday, August 11, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3900 West End Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee 37205, with a reception immediately following from 3:00-6:00 p.m. at Montgomery Bell Academy Dining Hall, 4001 Harding Pike 37205.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Montgomery Bell Academy or Westminster Presbyterian Church. Please note “in Memory of Will Caver.”

Listen below:


Do you have info for Phil's investigation?

Email him: phil.williams@newschannel5.com