Comal County Sheriff’s Office investigators are still investigating Thursday’s drowning of a San Antonio man in the Guadalupe River.

New Braunfels Fire Department divers recovered the body of 29-year-old Roberto Chavez Celis from the river just after 5 p.m. Thursday. He went last seen swimming near the eastern end of Rockin’ R River Rides’ Camp Hueco site in the 4500 block of River Road in New Braunfels.

Canyon Lake Fire/EMS Battalion Chief Jason Rush said units from his department, CCSO deputies and NBFD arrived at the location just before 2 p.m. Canyon Lake Fire Chief Darren Brinkkoeter said divers recovered Celis’ body just after 5 p.m.

“He was found in a pocket underneath the water that was pretty deep,” Brinkkoeter said. 

Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Tom Clark pronounced Celis dead at the scene and ordered an autopsy. Jennifer Smith, CCSO’s public information officer, said no foul play was suspected and the man’s death an apparent accidental drowning.

“Witnesses say they heard Celis call for help and saw him go under water,” she said. “We are conducting a thorough investigation.”

Responders said campers in the area confirmed a man who was seen swimming in the river but never resurfaced. They said Celis was among several family members camping at the site, including one they believed was his wife with three small children. 

A man with the family said the family was visiting from Mexico but declined further comment. Rockin’ R River Rides campground managers also declined comment.

NBFD Capt. Jeremy VanAusdall said divers recovered Celis from a pocket within the river that was roughly 15 feet deep. 

“During the search patterns we were performing, the depths were up to about 25 feet,” he said. “We had six divers on the search, joined by 12 officers from Canyon Lake Fire and CCSO units. 

“Anytime we get to work with agencies such as Canyon Lake Fire and EMS, which operates professionally, quickly and effectively, we always like to note it,” he added. “We have a great partnership with them and working on scenes such as this strengthens that foundation.”

Thursday’s was the second drowning on the Guadalupe River in almost three months. On April 25, first responders recovered the body of Eddie Torres, 38, of San Antonio, from the river near the 7200 block of Old Spring Branch Road.


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