The rising Ohio River forced recovery teams to pause their searches for the bodies of two local boys: Nylo Lattimore, 3, and James Hutchinson, 6.
“It is frustrating, because you think that if not much time goes by, you'll have a better indication of where the person may be,” said Tracy Campbell, a spokesperson for North Star International Search and Recovery. “But with this water and the time going past, you don't know."
Prosecutors believe Lattimore was thrown into the river in December by Desean Brown, who also stands charged with killing the toddler’s mother, 29-year-old Nyteisha Lattimore.
Hutchinson’s body was discarded in the river Sunday by his mother, who confessed to Middletown police that he had died after hanging on to her car while she attempted to abandon him in a Preble County park.
The Ohio River is expected to reach 54 feet by Thursday, making conditions unsafe for civilian boaters and even for trained rescuers. The fast current also means searchers have low visibility of objects being carried by the water.
"You don't want to be in any water at this point,” Campbell said. “When the water rises rapidly after a long river, it's going to start churning and picking up debris, lots of items."
North Star incident commander Jeff Shari, who works with Campbell, has been helping volunteers search the river for Lattimore since December. They’ve covered close to 200 miles without success during the emotionally draining effort, he said.
“A lot of people are starting to take effect where it's hard to go out there,” he said. “When I have a child or I'm a parent, what kind of evil does it take to throw a baby in the water? To murder a baby?”
But Campbell said her organization remains determined to find the remains of both boys.
“They’re committed to finding these babies and bringing them home,” she said.