Divers Find Bodies of Man and Baby Nephew Who Drowned in Florida River

Image: Divers find bodies of infant and his uncle in Pasco river.
Divers find bodies of infant and his uncle in Pasco river.

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A family picnic turned tragic Sunday when a Florida man and the 7-month-old nephew he was cradling in his arms both drowned in a river, police said. The body of baby Elijah Wilson was recovered Monday morning from the Withlacoochee River in Dade City — a day after 10 members of the Pasco County Sheriff's dive team recovered his 46-year-old uncle, Jeffrey Stock, according to NBC affiliate WFLA.

Stock was sitting on the bed of a pickup truck along the riverbank when the vehicle began rolling backwards, family told deputies. When the 300-pound Stock tried to jump out of the way, the truck ran him over — with the baby still in his arms — and dragged the pair into the water, deputies said. The truck sank, and investigators on Sunday night found Stock's body pinned underneath it. Elijah was discovered the following morning still submerged amid fishing lines and a strong current, Pasco County officials said.

The truck was in drive when it was yanked from the river, but it wasn't clear if the vehicle was in park or if its parking brake was on during the accident, WFLA reported. At the time, about 25 family members — including the baby's mother — were picnicking and fishing with the uncle and his nephew. Some of them watched helplessly as the pair drowned.

"Many of them did not want to talk. ... They did not want to really speak in general," Pasco County Sheriff's spokeswoman Melanie Snow told WFLA on Monday. "There was a prayer for Elijah, and it was a very somber moment."


— Erik Ortiz