(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
OAN’s Noah Herring
4:40 PM – Monday, July 17, 2023
Police have identified the two children who have been missing for nearly two days after they were swept away due to flash flooding that killed their mother.
2-year-old Matilda “Mattie” Sheils and her 9-month-old brother Conrad Sheils disappeared after floodwaters took over parts of southeast Pennsylvania on Saturday evening. The body of their mother, Katie Seley, 32, was found late on Saturday.
A family member who spoke at a news conference on Monday afternoon expressed the family’s gratitude for the searchers’ efforts.
“Their compassion, kindness and bravery have given us strengthen in this unspeakably difficult time,” said Scott Ellis, brother-in-law of Jim Sheils, the victim’s fiancé.
Seley was one of five people reported dead after the storms rolled through Bucks County over the weekend, according to Upper Makefield Fire Company Chief Tim Brewer.
“They were caught,” he said. “This was a flash flood… The wall of water came to them.”
Brewer also stated that officials have tripled the number of resources dedicated to the hunt for the Sheils’ children.
Since the weather has now improved, searchers will be able to utilize more resources like underwater assets as well as drones and search dogs.
The family was traveling from South Carolina and on their way to a cookout when they were caught in the unexpected flash floods. Mattie and Conrad were grabbed by their mother and grandmother, while the four-year-old was taken by their father.
The father and the four-year-old miraculously made it to safety. However, the mother, grandmother and two other children were swept away in the floods. The grandmother survived and was quickly taken into a local hospital, according to police.
Governor Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) declared a state of emergency for parts of Warren County near the Delaware River.
Warren County experienced a catastrophic amount of rain in a very short time this weekend, leading to overburdened stormwater systems and dangerous conditions.
Thanks to all our first responders who worked around the clock to keep people safe, reopen roadways, and restore power. pic.twitter.com/aNwrlKdwV0
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) July 17, 2023
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