Body found in Israel during search for American college student

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FORT MYERS, FL (WFLA) – Search crews in Israel say they have found a body during their search for a Florida teenager who went missing over the weekend.

Nineteen-year-old TeNiya Elnora Jones from Fort Myers went missing on Saturday while swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. Jones is a sophomore at the University of Kentucky who is studying abroad in a program focused on the Arabic language.

According to a news release from the University of Kentucky, Jones and two other students went swimming just after midnight in Tel Aviv. One of the other students who went swimming later told authorities they got caught up in a strong current and were pulled out to sea.

The other two students were able to make it back to shore, but university officials say Jones did not. 

When the other students called Israeli officials, a major search and rescue mission was launched.

According to CNN affiliate WKYT, the body of a young woman was found Monday morning. Authorities are now trying to positively identify the body.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with TeNiya, her family and the students and others impacted,” UK president Eli Capilouto said in a statement. “We are in continual contact with TeNiya’s family, officials in Israel, officials from the State Department and our Congressional delegation, to provide all the support we can for the family, students and others involved. We will do everything possible to provide whatever support is needed.”

UK Education Abroad officials are now making arrangements to have Jones’ mother and grandfather travel to Tel Aviv.

The study abroad program began in June and was scheduled to finish up this week.

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