Police in Pennsylvania said they “strongly believe” they have recovered the body of 2-year-old Matty Shields, who went missing in a violent flash flood last week.
At a news conference Friday night, Upper Makefield Township Police Chief Tim Brewer said, “Based on the physical characteristics and clothing found on the body, the [they] Awaiting further identification processes, we strongly believe the body of 2-year-old Matty Shields has been recovered. ”
Around 5 p.m., Philadelphia police received an anonymous 911 call that a child’s body was found in the Delaware River near the city’s sewage treatment plant, officials said. An anonymous caller “advised” police that there was a body in the Delaware River.
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A second caller informed authorities of the child’s physical characteristics near a sewage treatment plant in Philadelphia.
When paramedics arrived, Brewer said the child’s body was found “in the rubble”.
By 5:30 p.m., the boy was confirmed dead and taken to the Philadelphia coroner’s office. No formal identification has been made and an autopsy is scheduled for Saturday.
Authorities said the 2-year-old was 52 miles from where a flash flood washed away in Burks County, Pennsylvania, on July 15, along with her mother, Katie Seeley, 32, and her 9-month-old brother, Conrad.
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The team continues to search for Maddie’s brother Conrad up and down the Delaware River and plans to continue the extensive search on Saturday.
The floods claimed the lives of five people, including Matty and Conrad’s mother, Katie Seeley, 32.
Fiancé Seely and their three children, who had traveled from Charleston, South Carolina, for a family barbecue, were one of several cars washed away. Her fiancée, mother and four-year-old son escaped the flood or were later rescued.
The brewmaster said he was “heartbroken tonight” on hearing the news.
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“Overall, our hearts are broken tonight,” Brewer said. “Maddy was found 32 miles from where she went missing, but she’s never been closer to our hearts than she is right now.”
“We cannot understand the pain they are going through, but we will never leave them by their side as they deal with this tragedy,” he added.