Body of 7-year-old found after group of 9 tubers goes over North Carolina dam

Screen shot: Fox 8 News

June 21 (UPI) — A day after officials suspended the search for two people missing following a tubing incident in North Carolina last week, a body of one of the missing tubers was found.

The Rockingham County Department of Emergency Services said in a statement Sunday that the body of 7-year-old Isiah Crawford has been retrieved.

Crawford was among a group of nine people tubing on the Dan River near the Virginia border Wednesday evening when they went over a Duke Energy dam.

Four of the tubers were found alive the next day by “an astute” Duke Energy employee who called 911, prompting the search and rescue operation, the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Three bodies also were retrieved.

On Friday, the deceased were identified as Bridish Crawford, 27, Antonio Ramon, 30, and Sophie Wilson, 14.

Those rescued were identified as Rueben Villano, 35, Irene Villano, 18, Eric Villano, 14, and Karlos Villano, 14.

The Rockingham County Department of Emergency Services said Sunday that Crawford’s body was found after a 911 dispatch center received a phone call at 10:02 a.m. from a citizen who said they had spotted a body in the river.

Following its retrieval, authorities confirmed its identity as Isiah Crawford.

The discovery was made a day after Rodney Cates, the director of Rockingham County Emergency Services, called off rescue efforts, stating “we feel confident that we have exhausted all efforts to rescue or recover the two remaining victims.”

In the statement Sunday, the county explained that “we knew it was likely that the victims could resurface” following an increase in river flow over Saturday night that was the result of the release of water from Belews Lake.

Following the discovery on Sunday, two water craft searched the river for the final missing person, Teresa Villano, 35, the twin sister of Rueben Villano.

“We continue to stand firmly behind the decision made yesterday to suspend search efforts until we had new leads upon which to search,” the statement said. “At no point have we, or will we, cease our recovery operations.”


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