Two young brothers who were the centerpieces of a late night AMBER Alert were found deceased in a river on Monday, following a mother’s desperate pleas to find them.
New Zealand Herald reports that the boys, identified as Barak Eatts, 5, and Jhulio Eatts, 3, wandered off to a nearby park by the Ross River in the Townsville area of Queensland, Australia, after Barak finished school for the day. They left their home on Brett Street and went to Cranbrook Park, which was a short walk from their residence. A security camera attached to their home captured the boys leaving at around 4:30 p.m.
The boys were never supposed to go to the river area alone, family members said. According to their aunt, Ros Eatts, at around 5:30 p.m., Leann called the children inside for dinner and realized they weren’t in the yard where they were supposed to be. The mom frantically ran searching for them by the river but couldn’t find them.
“As soon as she couldn’t see them she ran straight down to the bridge which is a street away and she was just screaming and screaming,” Ros said.
“F**k me man my two babies have been missing since 5;45,” Leann wrote on Facebook several hours after the boys disappeared. “I got 8 police cars at my house and everyone on foot looking for them please keep a close eye out for them on the streets near Stockland Cranbrook and surrounding suburbs … freaking out right now. They only 5 and 3. Both have shorts no shirt or shoes. They just walked off. Please help Townsville.”
A massive search for the boys ensued, with law enforcement officials and search volunteers scouring the area, as a Queensland Emergency Services helicopter hovered above throughout the night. At close to midnight, police issued AMBER Alerts for the boys.
Thank you everyone I can not express my gratitude right now. Still can't find them we got police motorbike's and choppers out and 20 police units have set up on cranbrook park. I am so tired and empty.
Leann, apparently too worried to sleep, made another comment on Facebook at 1 a.m., followed by another one close to 4:30 a.m. Between 4:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., police made the tragic discovery. Both boys were in the river, deceased.
The Courier reports that Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles of the Townsville Child Protection Investigation Unit said that the boys were found in a cross section of the Ross River “only a couple of metres from each other,” in an area with a steep bank.
“Obviously we have young boys who are very familiar with their surroundings,. They, like other children, play in the community. We have to look at all circumstances at this point before we make any determinations as to whether or not there’s anything we should be concerned about. It could be as innocent as harmless play that’s had tragic consequences.”
Witnesses told police they spotted the boys playing at the river and jumping into the water.
Senior Sergeant Ian Wilkie added that the incident was being treated as a “tragic set of circumstances” at this time, and it appeared that the boys “were having fun and it’s turned to tragedy.”
Reports on the boys’ deaths are currently being prepared for a local coroner.
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) February 25, 2019
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Barack and Jhluio Eatts/Facebook; CCTV]