His body was recovered by a Cherokee County dive team about 5 p.m. Wednesday after he drowned while swimming in the reservoir with a friend, police said.
Bettis was a junior at Cherokee High School and enrolled in courses at Chattahoochee Technical College, according to South Canton Funeral Home Chapel.
Bettis and the friend were swimming together in the newly opened reservoir Wednesday when he began to struggle and went under, said Pacer Cordry, a spokesman for the Canton Police Department. The friend called 911 to report Bettis going under in the 10- to 20-foot-deep portion of the reservoir at 1:45 p.m.
Rescue workers from Cherokee and neighboring counties descended on the scene to locate the teen. They first found Bettis’ friend, who was by then in distress and needed medical assistance. He was treated and aided workers in the search, Cordry said.
The Canton Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Department of Natural Recourses and the Cherokee County Fire Department all had searchers on the water before the search came to a sobering close when 17-year-old’s body was pulled from the water by the Cherokee County Dive Team less than 20 feet from the last spot his friend last saw him alive, Cordry said.
Prior to the discovery of Bettis’ body, a photocopied picture was handed out to workers scouring the lake’s sprawling 411 acres and wrapping shoreline.
The photo showed a young, pale-haired high school student smiling.
Similar pictures can be found on the Facebook pages of relatives of the Canton teen, where well-wishers have also left condolences, remembering the person Bettis was in life. He was a “sweet boy,” one said.
Bettis was featured in the Cherokee Tribune in 2009 as a member of the Teasley Middle School Air Force Cadet Corps.
An autopsy of Bettis’ body was conducted at the state crime lab, authorities said.
Funeral services are Sunday at 2 p.m. at South Canton Funeral Home Chapel with burial at Mount Olive Baptist Church cemetery, a spokesperson for the funeral home said.
Visitation is Friday at the funeral home from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and until the funeral service on Sunday.
Bettis is survived by his parents, Tommy and Wendy Bettis of Canton, three sisters, Abby, Katie and Tori Bettis, and two brothers, Will and Jay Bettis, according to the funeral home.