June 17, 2024

It was found that a body in the Philadelphia river is likely to be the child missing in the flood, officials say

The body of a young girl found in a river in Philadelphia on Friday is strongly believed to be that of 2-year-old Matilda Sheils, who was swept along with her brother in floodwaters a week ago, officials said.

The child’s body was found in the Delaware River near the city’s wastewater treatment plant after 911 callers reported the body just after 5 p.m., Upper Makefield Fire Chief Tim Brewer said.

Matilda Sheils and her 9-month-old brother, Conrad, have been missing since Saturday, when the flood hit Bucks County, killing their mother.

“Based on the physical description of the child and the clothing found on the child, we strongly believe that 2-year-old Mattie Sheils has been found,” Brewer said at a news conference.

Philadelphia police said their marine unit recovered the child’s body and pronounced her dead at 5:30 p.m

Two 911 callers reported a body in the river. The first was at 5:04 pm but had limited information, Brewer said, and the second at 5:06 had more details including a location.

The child was found in debris up against a pier, Brewer said. He called it a tragedy and said the whole community was affected, and their thoughts were with the children’s families.

“We can’t begin to fathom the pain they’re going through,” Brewer said.

The body was found 32 miles from where the children were lost, Brewer said.

The search for Conrad is continuing. Philadelphia police aviation and marine units searched the river for him Friday, he said.

“We will be in the water tomorrow, as planned,” said Brewer. “We will work tirelessly to ensure that Conrad is found.”

A total of six people were in a vehicle that was stuck in flood waters, officials said.

The children’s father caught a 4-year-old boy and he arrived safely, and Matilda and Conrad’s mother and grandmother caught those two children, but all four were swept away. The grandmother survived.

The flooding occurred in Washington Crossing where 11 vehicles were flooded. As much as 7 inches of rain hit the area, which is near the Delaware River, in less than an hour, Brewer said.

In addition to the children’s mother, 32-year-old Katheryn Seley, four others died in the floods, officials said.

The Bucks County coroner identified them as Enzo Depiero, 78; Linda Depiero, 74; Yuko Love, 64; and Susan Barnhart, 53.

Dennis Romero helped.

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