Chris Overcash

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Friends of Chris Overcash mourned the loss Monday of a friend and fellow student, while North Carolina parks and Boy Scout officials investigate the teen's death Saturday in a hiking incident.

Overcash, a 16-year-old junior at A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis, was killed when he apparently slipped off a cliff at Stone Mountain State Park in Wilkes County. He was participating in a hiking trip with Boy Scout Troop 128, based in Concord.

Officials at Stone Mountain State Park say the Boy Scouts were about 100 yards off a marked trail when Overcash fell about 500 feet to his death.

Boy Scouts officials say Overcash was among a group of 11 Boy Scouts and three adult leaders, including Overcash's foster father. The Scouts ranged in age from 11 to 16.

State park officials and the Boy Scouts say they are investigating the teen's death.

Meanwhile, students at A.L. Brown High are mourning Overcash's death. A group of about 35 to 40 teens, accompanied by a number of parents, gathered Sunday evening in front of the school for a vigil. They gathered around the spirit rock in front of the school and painted a message on the rock, "RIP Chris Overcash, c/o (class of) 2014."

Students left flowers and lit candles at the rock.

School officials plan to have grief counselors on hand Monday to help students and staff.

By all accounts, Overcash was a well-liked and popular student. Online posts from friends said he had a wide variety of interests, ranging from theater arts, to woodcrafting, to physical fitness.

"You could tell him anything, you could trust him with anything," student Keith Nicholson told NewsChannel 36, the Observer's news partner. "He was just a sweetheart to everybody."

Another student, Kaitlyn Dawkins, told WCNC, "He doesn't seem like the kind to fall off a cliff. He's so careful and strategic when it comes to stuff like that."

- Observer Staff Report
Published in Charlotte Observer on Sept. 24, 2012
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