Missing 8-year-old Virginia boy, Joel Martinez Mercado, was found dead in the Pamunkey River on Monday morning.
WTVR reports that Mercado was discovered near Eltham Bridge after an hours-long search. New Kent Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy, Joe McLaughlin, said that the body was located by Coast Guard personnel. EMS pronounced the boy dead and the Medical Examiners Office has been contacted and plans are being made to have the body transported.
McLaughlin adds that the family was on site at the time of recovery. Relatives say that the boy fell into the water from the Route 33 bridge above the river. Police halted the search Sunday night due to safety concerns and water conditions, but family members continued the search in a boat. They say that they’re the ones who discovered the child’s body after he went missing on Sunday.
The Coast Guard was called to help in the search for Joel Martinez Mercado after he was last seen in the Pamunkey River in West Point. The New Kent Sheriff’s Office and New Kent Fire Rescue responded to an emergency call over a person who was in the water of the Mill Creek, just off of the Pamunkey River at the Eltham Bridge. This reportedly occurred around 5 p.m. Sunday. Others who aided in the search for the missing boy involved crews from Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries, the James City County Fire- Rescue, and James City Police.
“Initial information indicated one person in the water and another person unaccounted for. One person an adult was recovered from the water and the second person reported to be a child became the subject of an intense search,” McLaughlin said.
Officials with the Hampton Roads Coast Guard Division were able to confirm child’s age, according to the report. CBS 6 TV further reports that Mercado’s mother tried diving in to save her son, but wasn’t able to do it in time. At that point, the family called 911. Unfortunately, no one was able to locate him until the next morning.
The reported adds that anyone who’s interested in helping the boy’s family at this time can contact Melanie King at Proclaiming Grace Outreach at 757-810-4337. Also, donations can be made at an account set up at Citizens and Farmers Bank to help Joel’s family fund his funeral expenses. Donations can be made to the Joel Martinez Mercado Fund at any Citizens and Farmers Bank.
[Image via WTKR screenshot]