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Former Crescenta Valley Star Jenkins Is Found Dead

June 01, 2002|ROB FERNAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

James Jenkins, a former basketball and swimming standout at Crescenta Valley High, was found dead Thursday at the bottom of a waterfall near Mammoth Lakes, the victim of an apparent accident, investigators said.

Jenkins, 19, was on a hiking and fishing trip when he was reported missing Wednesday night by his father, Horace. After an all-night search, a team of rescuers found Jenkins' body at the bottom of Rush Creek Falls, a 200-foot waterfall near Agnew Lake.

The cause of death is under investigation by the Mono County coroner's office.

News of Jenkins' death stunned students and faculty at Crescenta Valley. He graduated in 2001.

"Everybody has been deeply impacted," said Linda Evans, co-principal at Crescenta Valley. "There's just a sense of real emptiness and numbness."

The 6-foot-7 Jenkins, who played on San Jose State's basketball team last season as a freshman walk-on, averaged 23.2 points and 11.6 rebounds for Crescenta Valley as a senior, leading the Falcons to the Southern Section playoffs. A three-year starter, Jenkins was twice selected All-Southern Section.

But his greatest success came in swimming. Jenkins won Division II championships in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events for the second consecutive year in 2001, setting school records with times of 20.47 and 44.65 seconds, respectively. He was named The Times' Valley/Ventura County swimmer of the year.

Evans said students at Crescenta Valley erected a banner Friday, "so kids can write their thoughts about James."

Funeral services have been tentatively scheduled for next Saturday at the Crescenta Valley auditorium. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to a memorial fund at the high school.

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