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DALLAS -- One day after 14-year-old Javar Smith walked away from the Learning Alternative Center in the Dallas Independent School District, his body was found floating in a nearby creek.

The campus is on Village Fair Drive, near Ledbetter and I-35E in southern Dallas. The school is for troubled children and it is often referred to as 'Village Fair.'

Police say Smith and a friend cut class Monday around 1:30 p.m. and went to a Five Mile Creek, about 100 yards from the campus. Police say Smith got in the water, but his buddy didn't, because he couldn't swim. Smith began to struggle and his friend ran to a nearby car wash for help, but no one was there.

'He leaves that location, still sees that his friend is under, goes to the school where he had a family member that was there, tells the family member, and for whatever reason, the family member did not believe the story,' explained Dallas Police Officer Monica Cordova.

So no one ever came to help Javar Smith. His body was discovered and pulled from the creek around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

During school Tuesday, police say the friend who was with Smith the day before told a teacher what happened. The teacher called authorities. DISD Police Chief Craig Miller said Smith's family also called the school Tuesday, since he was didn't return home Monday.

Cordova said there was no record of missing persons reports filed with Dallas police. They say there was no sign of foul play.

Five Mile Creek is littered with evidence that young people use it as a hang out. Neighbor Oscar Celimundo said he sees it almost every day.

'I live here and there are always kids around skipping - trying to get away from school - and they are down here hanging out,' he said. Several other neighbors told similar stories.

Part of the school uniform at Village Fair includes orange T-shirts and neighbors said the creek is often full of students wearing those shirts. At least two shirts were visible in the creek from the bridge near the spot where Smith's body was found.

Miller said the district is in the early stages of its investigation to determine what went wrong.

'This is very much an ongoing criminal investigation,' he said. 'There is still a number of people - witnesses - that need to be spoke with, and as a result of that, hopefully we'll get a clearer picture of what happened.'

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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