On July 23, at about 2:16 p.m., the Champaign County Communications Center received a 911 call from a female canoer on Mad River stating her baby had just fallen into the water. According to the caller, she and other members of her party were floating down Mad River and as they approached the area of several fallen trees and debris south of state Route 55, the baby fell from the mother’s lap and disappeared under rushing water.
At about 5:05 p.m., the baby was located in the river in a debris area and taken to Mercy Health-Urbana Hospital. Lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful and the child was pronounced deceased.
Based upon continued investigation, it has been determined that a male subject was present near the river/bridge crossing on this day and may have seen the family pass in the canoes or possibly witnessed the incident.
The male subject was believed to be “fly fishing” and is described as caucasian, middle-age with a thin build. He was reportedly driving a blue, newer model Dodge truck. Investigators are asking for help identifying and locating this man as he may be considered a witness in the case.
Anyone who may have seen the family in the vicinity of the state Route 55 bridge that day is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office, 937-484-6091.
The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and the Champaign County Coroner’s Office continue to investigate.
Info from the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.