Body of 5-year-old Tacoma boy who drowned on Memorial Day recovered

LEWIS COUNTY, Wash. -- The body of the 5-year-old Tacoma boy who drowned on Memorial Day in the Cispus River near Randle was recovered Friday night, the Lewis County Sheriff's Office said.

The boy was riding his dirt bike when he accidentally drove into the river on Monday and was swept away.

His body was recovered at about 8 p.m. Friday.

"The water dropped enough in the last day so the boy’s body became visible," the Lewis County Sheriff's Office said in a news release. "His body was still lodged in the logjam in which he was initially believed to be caught under. The recovery efforts took approximately two hours."

His body was turned over to the county coroner's office.


Crews first started searching the river on Monday but had to stop because of the swift moving water and diminishing daylight.

Divers thought they spotted the boy’s helmet down river snagged on a logjam, but it turned out to be his visor.

The Cispus River moves fast and cold, barely 40 degrees.

Police say the boy’s mother and father immediately jumped into the frigid water -- chasing after him --- but they, too, were nearly swept away.

“It happened really quick,” said Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield. “The father got in the water, he tried to check all the holes where the boy could have hung up or gone under and we almost lost him (the father)."

Just underneath the water’s surface, the boy’s motorcycle is visible.

Investigators believe his parents were exercising due caution; so far no criminal investigation is under way.

Police say the boy was an experienced rider.

“Initially you’d think a 5-year-old on a bike, that’s pretty young,” said Mansfield. “For a 5-year-old he was extremely experienced and his whole family has been doing the motocross thing. He knew how to ride.”

Dive crews prepared to re-enter the water using boats and snorkels on Tuesday afternoon. Their biggest challenge will be navigating the trees and snags that litter the river.

“Checking all the little fingers and all the log jams,” said Mansfield. “I feel confident in time we will be able to do that and return him to the family."

The sheriff’s office even had trouble finding a helicopter to help in the search, so a local TV news chopper was helping search the river for the boy. Crews on the ground will continue looking until nightfall.