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Body of missing boy recovered Wednesday

Search crews scour the Ohio River between Monroe County in Ohio and Wetzel County in West Virginia on Tuesday, working to recover a 7-year-old boy who went missing in the water Sunday. His body was recovered from along the wall of the Hannibal Locks and Dam early Wednesday. (Photo by Robert A. DeFrank)

By CARRI GRAHAM

Special to The News and Sentinel

CLARINGTON, Ohio — After days of searching, the body of a missing 7-year-old boy was recovered around 4 a.m. Wednesday near the wall of the Hannibal Locks and Dam.

Monroe County Sheriff Charles Black Jr. said the boy’s body was discovered by a family member who continued searching after officials suspended the search earlier at 1 a.m. Black said they had planned to resume the search at 8 a.m.; however, the boy’s family requested to keep searching, as they had a small boat to utilize in their efforts. He said the family members were making their way toward the wall of the dam when they saw something in the water.

“My deputies were just pulling in to check equipment we had left there, and they were advised they found what they thought was the body, and it was the body of the 7-year-old,” he said.

Search crews scour the Ohio River between Monroe County in Ohio and Wetzel County in West Virginia on Tuesday, working to recover a 7-year-old boy who went missing in the water Sunday. His body was recovered from along the wall of the Hannibal Locks and Dam early Wednesday. (Photo by Robert A. DeFrank)

Due to the body’s location being in the Ohio River, the Wetzel County coroner was contacted. The Ohio River is under West Virginia’s jurisdiction. Black said foul play is not suspected in the boy’s death.

The 7-year-old boy went missing at approximately 4:30 p.m. Sunday near the Hannibal Locks and Dam. Black said he and his 9-year-old brother were playing in the Ohio River near a culvert when the younger boy unknowingly came too close to a drop-off area in the river.

“There was a sandbar where they were playing at the end of the water. The uncle yelled for them to come back and the 7-year-old walked off to the right out of sight and unknowing to the 7-year-old there was a drop-off at that point — I believe they said it was about a 20-foot straight drop. The little boy was wearing muck boots, pants and a coat,” he said.

Black said he surmises that once the boy’s boots filled up with water, they became weighted, sinking him to the bottom. He said the 9-year-old attempted to grab him but was unsuccessful as neither child could swim. He was able to get out of the water himself and alert nearby family members for help.

Multiple entities on both sides of the river had been involved in search efforts since the disappearance.

Black said they are relieved that the family has closure in this “horrific and tragic” accident.

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