Police in Pennsylvania say they “firmly believe” they have recovered the body of 2-year-old Mattie Sheils, who went missing last week during severe flash flooding.
In a press conference Friday evening, Upper Makefield Township Police Chief Tim Brewer said that “based on the physical description and the clothing found on the body, [they] firmly believe that the body of 2-year-old Mattie Sheils has been recovered, pending further identification process.”
At approximately 5 p.m., Philadelphia Police received an anonymous 911 call about a child’s body in the Delaware River, near the city’s wastewater treatment plant, authorities said. The anonymous caller “advised” police that there was a body in the Delaware River.
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A second caller gave authorities a physical description of a child near the Philadelphia wastewater disposal plant.
When emergency crews arrived, they discovered the child’s body “in debris,” Brewer said.
By 5:30 p.m., the child was pronounced dead and transported to the Philadelphia medical Examiner’s office. Official identification is pending, and an autopsy is expected to be performed on Saturday.
Authorities said that the 2-year-old was 32 miles from where she was swept away, along with her mother, 32-year-old Katie Seley, and 9-month-old brother Conrad, in flash flooding in Berks County, Pennsylvania on July 15.
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Teams are continuing to search for Maddie’s brother, Conrad, up and down the Delaware River and will continue the extensive search Saturday.
The flooding claimed the lives of five people, including Mattie and Conrad’s mother, 32-year-old Katie Seley.
Seley, her fiancé, and their three children were visiting from Charleston, South Carolina for a family barbecue when their car became one of several that was swept away. Her fiancé, mother, and 4-year-old son were able to escape the floodwaters or were later rescued.
Chief Brewer said that their “hearts are broken this evening” from the news.
“All in all, our hearts are broken this evening,” Brewer said. “Although Maddie was found 32 miles away from where she was lost, she has never been closer to all of our hearts as she is now.”
“We cannot begin to fathom the pain they are experiencing, but we will never leave their side as they deal with this tragedy,” he added.
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