Teen found dead in Rock Creek Park

A 15-year-old student at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School was found dead in Rock Creek Park on Tuesday, and authorities said he may have died in a freak accident caused by Monday’s storms.

Montgomery County police identified the youth as Joshua Davis, who lived in Chevy Chase. They said a preliminary investigation indicated that he was struck by a falling tree while he was riding his bike.

Investigators believed that the storms that swept through the area Monday afternoon and evening “may be a factor in his death,” police said in a statement.

Joshua was reported missing Monday night by his parents after he failed to return from a bike ride, and search efforts that night were unsuccessful.

“I personally will miss his positive attitude and bright smile,” said Karen L. Lockard, principal of B-CC, where Joshua was a sophomore. “The entire community mourns the loss of this bright, kind young man,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Joshua was an enthusiastic Boy Scout and bicyclist and an active member of a service-oriented church youth group, according to those who knew him.

“He was an outstanding gentleman with a strong faith in God,” said Daniela Helton, a youth leader at North Chevy Chase Christian Church. As a member of the youth group, she said, he helped prepare meals at homeless shelters.

A member of a Scout troop sponsored by another church, he was planning a service project at B-CC to help earn the rank of Eagle Scout, Lockard said. She had met with him two weeks ago to discuss his plan to build planter boxes and help children at a child development preschool at B-CC to grow vegetables and flowers.

It was not clear who found Joshua on Tuesday in woods near the 9200 block of Jones Mill Road in Chevy Chase, about a half-mile south of the Capital Beltway. Police said he had been riding on one of the side trails off the main Rock Creek trail.

Julie Zauzmer is a local news reporter.
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