Authorities find body of woman who drowned, believed to be US student

19-year-old was pulled out to sea after going for a midnight swim.

Te Tel Aviv marina, July 30, 2018 (photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
Te Tel Aviv marina, July 30, 2018
(photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
Police have found the body of a woman believed to be a University of Kentucky (UK) student who was reported missing after having gone swimming at a Tel Aviv beach late Saturday night.
Ayalon District police said on Monday that they had found the body of a young woman washed ashore in Tel Aviv, close to where the student, TeNiya Elnora Jones, 19, was last seen.
The body was taken to a pathology center in the Tel Aviv district, and police said Tuesday they were waiting for Jones’ family to arrive from the US to identify the remains.
Jones had been swimming with two other students shortly after midnight, according to a press release put out by the University of Kentucky.
A sophomore from Fort Myers, Florida, majoring in Biology and Islamic Studies, Jones was in the region as part of a Jordan-based Arabic language program with eight other American students. She and three other students had traveled from Amman to Tel Aviv for the weekend.
One of the other students who went swimming with Jones reported that they had gotten caught up in a current and were pulled out to sea. The other two students managed to make it back to shore but Jones disappeared. The students notified Israeli officials who launched a search and rescue effort.
Jones’ mother, Tosha Thomas-Mora, exchanged texts with her daughter at 10:30 p.m. Saturday Israeli time, and Jones said she was “in for the night,” Thomas-Mora told the News-Press of South Florida. Eight hours later, Thomas-Mora said she received a call from the vice president at the Council on International Educational Exchange that her daughter was missing. She later received a call from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, according to the News-Press.
Thomas-Mora’s 22-year-old son, Samuel Jones Jr., was shot and killed in a double homicide last December, the newspaper reported.
The Lexington, Kentucky-based UK said Monday it had been in constant contact with Jones’ family and was arranging for them fly to Tel Aviv as soon as possible.
“We pray that TeNiya’s family finds light in this darkness. We pray, too, for comfort and healing for our other students,” UK president Eli Capilouto said.
TNS contributed to this report.