The bodies of a 5-year-old girl and her 4-year-old brother have been found after they were swept away by a flash flood in North Carolina earlier this week.
Search and rescue crew members located the body of Alexa Castro near the Neuse River on Wednesday afternoon, while her brother Abraham Martinez Jr., was found in a shallow creek about 30 yards away the following morning, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said at a press conference on Thursday.
"We were hoping a for a better outcome," Bizzell said. "But at least this morning, we have retrieved them. The family has been notified, and we want to keep the family in our thoughts and our prayers."
Rescuers located the bodies after some water receded in the area, according to Bizzell.
"I'm just thankful that they never got into the Neuse River," he said.
The siblings and their mom were driving in Smithfield late Monday night when a flash flood swept their vehicle off the road, according to authorities.
First responders were able to reach the mother and one child, but Abraham Jr. slipped away when the rescue boat they were on capsized, officials said.
Four boats were damaged in the rescue attempt, according to Bizzell, but "we don’t care about the boats and the equipment — that can be replaced. Our focus immediately went to those children."
Local authorities with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office worked all day Tuesday and into Wednesday morning to search for the children using K-9s, helicopters and more.
The mother was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, WRAL reported.
"It's a sad day for for the family, it's a sad day for law enforcement, it's a sad day for the first responders, the searchers, the boaters," Bizzell said. "But at least we got those children, and the family can find a sense of closure. Those kids are in a better place than we are today."
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