LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. — Multiple law enforcement and search and rescue agencies assembled in Lawrenceburg to search for the missing body of 6-year-old James Hutchinson in the Ohio River on Sunday.
The search in the river and its banks from Lawrenceburg to Aurora lasted until around 3:00 p.m. Officials did not locate either Hutchinson or Nylo Lattimore, a 3-year-old missing since December and believed to also have been put into the Ohio River.
Preble County Sheriff Michael Simpson said the river looks “like mud” from the helicopter. High water levels and difficult terrain also hindered officials searching for the boys. The conditions of the river prevented any underwater search efforts entirely on Sunday.
"This is a challenge," said Simpson. "The water has been up for days. It's coming down. I had the opportunity to fly over the river and look at it. It's like looking into a glass of chocolate milk. It's mud."
Sheriff's deputies from Preble County, Butler County and Dearborn County are working with Lawrenceburg Police, as well as nearly 50 volunteers from North Star International, a search and rescue group. Ohio Land Search and Rescue also assisted.
Divers with the Hamilton County Police Association were at the scene of the search, but they were unable to enter the river because of the unsafe conditions and low visibility.
Crews are still hoping to find the bodies of both 3-year-old Nylo Lattimore and Hutchinson before another rain or rise in the river. Simpson said any change in the river's condition can slow the search down.
"There will be a point where we hope we can get into the river, get the dive teams in and get these people on the water so we can hopefully recover both of these boys," he said.
The Butler County Sheriff's Department lent their helicopter to the search and Butler County officials attempted to search from a boat on the river, but difficult waters in the river meant they couldn't search by boat for long.
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.
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.