Toddler’s body found in river after flash flood

/ Source: The Associated Press

Searchers found the body of a 2-year-old Wednesday in the South Platte River, three miles downstream from where a toddler was swept away from his mother during a flash flood.

Authorities believed the boy was Jose Matthew Jauregui Jr. and were awaiting confirmation, Fire Department spokesman Phil Champagne said.

Floodwaters engulfed the boy and his mother while they were on a walk. The mother, identified by relatives as Elsha Guel, was rescued and hospitalized.

Rescuers lifted the body to a railroad bridge about five feet over the river and covered it with a tarp. Sobbing family members stood nearby with Fire Department divers.

Guel had been out for her regular stroll with her son along a bike path that follows the South Platte downtown when a sudden thunderstorm dumped more than an inch of rain and sent a torrent of water down the river.

The mother, found clinging to a concrete barrier in the river, released her grip and slipped away from a rescuer when told her son had not been found, Champagne said. She was pulled from the river about 100 yards downstream.

Police had also believed a teenager or young man drowned in a swollen creek. An officer had jumped into the water in a rescue attempt but could not reach him, authorities said.

But because no one had been reported missing by Wednesday, police spokesman Sonny Jackson said, authorities believed the man may have pulled himself out of the stream.