An Indiana father is facing criminal charges for allegedly being on drugs when his 2- and 4-year-old sons drowned in the Kankakee River Tuesday night.
WGN reported that police believe Eric Patillo, 34, was on drugs and didn’t notice his two sons, Evan Patillo, 2, and Levi Patillo, 4, becoming overcome by the waters. Two fishers who were at the river that fateful night said they tried to save the boys and claimed the father was under the influence as his sons drowned.
Fishermen reportedly managed to pull one of the boys out the water before help arrived. The boys were reportedly taken to two separate hospitals and pronounced dead a short time later.
One of the fishermen, Kyle Dylan Sherwood, told the news station that the father originally appeared fine but it became clear he was inebriated after he offered him a fishing pole.
“He was so impaired that he couldn’t even get a worm on the hook,” Kyle said. “He was stabbing himself in the finger with the worm on the hook.”
Court records appear to indicate that Eric has a history of substance abuse issues. The Times reported that Eric was sentenced to probation in May for felony heroin possession. The charge reportedly stemmed from an April 14, 2017, incident where Eric was caught with three other men in a raid conducted after police discovered a methamphetamine lab.
Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez said witnesses spotted the children in waist-deep water near the shore moments before tragedy struck.
“A few minutes later, they saw Mr. Patillo jumping in the water. The witnesses became concerned about where the kids were at and started looking for the kids and found them in the water, one floating on top and one beneath the water and unresponsive,” he said.
FOX News reports Eric is facing felony child neglect charges as drug and alcohol results are pending. Meanwhile, police said they’re searching for another man, Jesse Linter, 31, who they said was at the river with the Patillos and fled before they arrived.
[Featured Image: Evan Patillo, Levi Patillo/GoFundMe]