Police ID 11-year-old boy missing in river at Wallace Marine Par - KPTV - FOX 12

Police ID 11-year-old boy missing in river at Wallace Marine Park in Salem

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The search for an 11-year-old that became distressed in the water at the Wallace Marine Park Friday afternoon was suspended late Friday evening.

Units from the Salem Police Department and the Salem Fire Department responded to the scene at 3:48 p.m. Nehemiah Wilson of Salem had been swimming around an old boat ramp and beneath a pedestrian bridge when he went into distress and needed help.

Many people at the scene told FOX 12 they were alerted to the situation by the mother’s screams for help as she tried to rescue her son.

“She was just screaming and screaming ‘Stop, stop, stop!’” witness Anna Abrahamson said. “I just don’t think she really believed that he was gone.”

Several other people in the area tried to assist the boy, but he went under the water and out of sight of those trying to help.

“He just went out to swim, the mother thought he was going too far, and she went after him. She was right there, and then he was gone,” Abrahamson said. “She was actually running after her kid, she was out in the water going after him and he went under.”

The emergency crews were at the scene within two minutes attempting to find Wilson, with the fire department getting a boat in the water to search within minutes. The Marine Enforcement boat and personal watercraft from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office also arrived at the scene to assist, as did a dive and rescue team from the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and two aircraft from the Benton County Sheriff's Office.

Crews are now calling the effort a recovery operation. Meanwhile, the family gathered in a prayer circle at the park, hoping for a miracle.

 “I hope the family gets the closure they need,” onlooker Anthony Clifford said. “It’s really scary.”

The search continued until dark when it was suspended for the safety of the crews looking for Wilson. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office will resume the search Saturday morning.

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