Sidney Heidrick, a 4-year-old autistic boy, drowned in the waters of Lake Erie after he went missing from his grandparents’ home in Sheffield Lake, Ohio, on Friday.
Mayor Dennis Bring confirmed the boy’s death after learning about it from the boy’s grandparents.
Fox 8 in Cleveland reports that the young child was last seen on Friday at 4:30 p.m. His body was discovered in close proximity to that location on Saturday morning.
Sheffield Lake Police Chief, Tony Campo, said it was apparent that the child drowned after walking off his grandparents’ property. He’s actually from Bay Village, but was visiting his grandma and grandpa near Shell Cove Park.
“The young boy Sidney we were looking for, he was found in the water by divers and it appears to be an obvious drowning.”
Hundreds of first responders and community volunteers participated in a wide search for Sidney Heidrick. Those involved in the search were briefed that since Sidney had autism, he might not respond when they call out his name. In order to increase the chances of him responding to them while looking for him, they played his favorite song, “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.”
“The family would like to thank everyone for their efforts in trying to find Sidney. We are overwhelmed with the amount of support. We would like to implore everyone in the cities of Sheffield Village, Sheffield Lake, Avon, Avon Lake, and Bay Village to continue [to] look in any possible hiding place. Please check under tarps, window wells, sandboxes, under decks, in closets, in garages, and anywhere a 4-year-old could fit. If your neighbors aren’t home, please check their houses if at all possible. We appreciate all the efforts and continued support and can’t wait for Sidney to be brought home safely. If everyone in this area can do this, we will find Sidney.”
Heidrick was reported missing soon after he walked out of his grandparents’ house and disappeared. Authorities arrived soon after to find him, but there was no sign of him anywhere.
Sidney’s aunt, Deena Olah, said that the boy loved being outside and play outdoors. He reportedly thought of a nearby power plant as a castle, where crews searched high and low.
A makeshift memorial for Sidney Heidrick is seen near the spot where he was found with stuffed animals and toys.
[Photo Credit: Fox 8 screenshot]