Bodies of missing brother and sister, 4 and 5, both found after Smithfield flooding

Posted September 1, 2020 5:35 a.m. EDT
Updated September 3, 2020 8:46 p.m. EDT

— Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said the bodies of 5-year-old Alexa Osorio and her 4-year-old brother, Abraham Martinez Jr., have both been found.

Both children were found in a shallow creek near the Neuse River. Search crews found Alexa's body Wednesday afternoon, and Abraham was found Thursday morning.

"I was thankful they didn't end up in the Neuse River," said Bizzell, who offered deep condolences Thursday morning and said his deputies were with the family.

"Everyone I have talked to has been in continuous prayer," said Bizzell, who said the Johnston County community is so kind that citizens were volunteering to buy kayaks and assist in the search, which lasted for three days.

On Thursday, Bizzell thanked citizens for listening to his guidance and leaving the rescue efforts to the professionals. The current in the Neuse River is strong and can be dangerous, he said.

Several rescue crews were injured Tuesday when their boat capsized during the search for Alexa and Abraham. Bizzell said they got right back to work after they left the hospital.

“Everyone is emotional," Bizzell said. "The family is emotional, the deputies are emotional. I am emotional. Anytime we deal with a case involving children, anytime it’s someone’s child, someone’s loved one, someone's sister, I’m emotional.“

A page has been set up to pay for funeral expenses for both children.

Alexa and Abraham were both swept away in floodwaters late Monday night while riding in their mother's car.

The children’s mother, who was driving the car, called 911 around 11:30 p.m. Monday when her car was swept into a creek off Galilee Road, which runs near the Neuse River, near West Smithfield Elementary School.

Up to 8 inches of rain was reported Monday night in that area, prompting numerous water rescues in Johnston County.

Crews said, during their initial rescue attempts, they found the boy and mother, but Alexa was nowhere to be seen. First responders held onto the mother, but the boy slipped away when a rescue boat capsized. Crews found the woman's white sedan a short distance downstream from Galilee Road. Nobody was inside.

On Tuesday, family and friends said the mother is out of the hospital and is doing well physically.

Volunteer Donna Mitchell said, when Alexa's body was found after a long two-day search, volunteers formed a large prayer circle, "the only thing they could do."

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