A weekend camping trip to Ellis Dam turned into a nightmare for one local family.
An Ellis Dam camper, Gerald Dunaway, woke up Saturday morning to knocks on his camper door. The Sheriff said, two children are missing. Police say, at about 9:45AM a 911 call was received. Two step-brothers, a 2 year-old and a 3 year-old, had been playing by the water when they went missing. A search team was called in, where authorities said, two scent dogs, brought in from Youngstown, indicated the boys had entered the water.
"We have the dams or the spill way, where a person could get trapped in what is known as the drowning machine," said Captain, Jeff LeCocq of the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Department. "And just constantly get cycled through the bottom of the spill way."
About 90-minutes into the search and one mile south of the campground, the 3 year-olds body was found. The search team continued throughout the day. LeCocq said, they are doing all they can to find the younger brother, and they remain hopeful.
"But, we have to be realistic too," said LeCocq. "We’re dealing with a 2 year-old, with every indication he’s been lost in the water. "
Neighbors said, just yesterday both boys were playing, and having fun with their own children.
Dunaway said, "My little girl, and their little 2 year-old, they were hugging each other, playing on the road, riding bikes together. It’s just sad it had to happen that way."
Dunaway said, seeing the boys’ family afterwards was heartbreaking.
"I can’t see, it makes you hurt when you have children," said Donaway. "It just makes you hurt inside, and I couldn’t see them kids like that. You got to get away, and collect your thoughts, and all there is."
There has been no word on where the parents were when the boys entered the water. Police said, the last incident of children missing in the Muskingum River was in 2006.
WHIZ has learned the 3-year-old is identified as Ayden Leroy Cecil and the 2-year-old is Anthony Joseph Tullius. Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz says after scouring the river all day Saturday in search for the missing boy along with the heavy rains that hit last night, search efforts have been called off; however, as of around noon Sunday, we have received a confirmed report of an Ohio DNR boat searching the river.