Search teams locate body of missing 10-year-old boy in Branford

Search teams in the water near Tabor Drive in Branford (WTNH / Tom Parent)

BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Rescue teams in Branford have located the body of a missing 10-year-old boy in the Branford River near Tabor Drive Friday afternoon.

Just after 2:00 p.m. emergency crews responded to the Branford River in the area of Tabor Drive and South Montowese Street to search for a missing person.  News 8 received several messages from viewers via Report-It indicating a high police, fire, and Coast Guard presence with multiple search parties in boats on the water.

2017 07 07 branford search 1 Search teams locate body of missing 10 year old boy in Branford
Search teams in the water near Tabor Drive in Branford (WTNH / Tom Parent)

According to Branford Police Captain Geoffrey Morgan, the search teams were looking for a 10-year-old boy a swamp area of the Branford River just east of South Montowese Street. The boy was playing outside with his two brothers when he lost his footing, fell down an embankment, and into a pipe along the river. The other two brothers were not hurt.

News 8 spoke with licensed drone pilot John Drakos, who flew his drone to help out police in the search. He said that the muddy water and strong current in the Branford River made the search challenging.

It is a pretty strong current here, that factors into any search. It’s kind of difficult, you can’t see below the surface because it’s muddy water. I was searching the riverbanks, and unfortunately, nothing came up.

Search teams from Guilford and East Haven also joined in to assist Branford search parties.

Just before 5:00 p.m., officials confirmed to News 8 that the boy’s body had been located in the water. His identity has not been released.

Around 8:30 p.m., the Superintendent of Schools in Branford, Hamlet Hernandez released a statement:

“Today, a ten-year-old child who attends the Branford Public Schools tragically lost his life. The student’s name is being withheld out of respect to the family. Our collective hearts are broken and our thoughts and prayers are with the family. The school district is arranging for grief counselors to support children experiencing difficulties with the tragic passing of a classmate. Information regarding grief counselors will be posted on the District’s website at: http://www.branfordschools.org/ on Sunday.”

Community members came out and left flowers and wrote messages saying goodbye.

Officials are warning the public to be careful. Residents say there’s a strong current that sometimes comes through and even playing nearby could be unsafe.

“The rocks are very slippery when they’re wet, especially when the high tide comes in. If there’s any kind of moss on them or any black mud or anything, you could slide easily,” said William Vanhouten.