ID of SMU officer swept away released; search for body continues

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Family members said the SMU police officer who was swept away in Turtle Creek served as a Marine and was a devoted family man.

Divers continued to search on Wednesday for the body of Mark McCullers but still hadn’t located him nearly two days after he went missing.

“While we still have hopes in the rescue of our beloved Mark McCullers, we understand that the elapsed time and circumstances are not on our side,” said family spokesman Ben Nix.

McCullers called 911 around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday while working a private security job. He was guarding a construction site that backs up to the creek and said the rising water was starting to move his car.

Grainy surveillance video suggests he might have gotten out of his white Dodge Charger as it washed into the creek near Fitzhugh Avenue and St. Johns Drive.

“One of the challenges when our search crews originally got out was that the water level was extremely high. So that limits the visual feel, the depth that we can reach physically,” said Dallas Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Evans. “Now that the water level is lower dramatically we fell like that might give us a better chance to locate someone.”

Search crews found the officer’s car Tuesday afternoon using sonar equipment, but his body was not inside the vehicle.

The crews searched until daylight faded Tuesday evening. The State Game Warden joined DFR and police Wednesday with a fresh crew, search dogs and more resources.

Several people stopped by a small memorial marking in the spot where McCullers car was pulled out of the water.

McCullers joined the SMU Police Department in Feb. 2015. He previously worked private security for Mark Cuban’s estate and a private firm involved with the George W. Bush Library and Museum, according to his LinkedIn page.

McCullers served in the Marine Corps from 1990-1998. He leaves behind a family and several children.

“Mark was devoted in his faith in God and to his family. My sister and Mark have an amazing love. For the last eight years they have dedicated themselves to each other and their blended family of six wonderful children who will cherish the time they were able to spend as a family,” said Nix.

The search for McCuller’s body will continue Thursday morning at 8 a.m. Rescuers are focusing on a stretch of the creek where the car was found south to Fairmont, where large steel grates filter the water into the Trinity River.