Searchers Recover Body Of Second Missing Child

SMITHFIELD – Search teams recovered the body of a missing 4 year-old boy this morning (Thursday).  Around 9:00am, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office located Abraham Martinez Jr.  His body was found a short distance away from where the body of his sister, 5 year-old Alexa Castro, was located Wednesday afternoon.

Abraham and Alexa were riding in a car with their mother Monday night on Galilee Road near Smithfield when floodwaters swept their vehicle off the roadway.  The mother was able call 911 and summon help.

Galilee Road. Photo by John Payne

Using rescue boats, first responders were able to get the mother and Abraham into a boat but within seconds it capsized.  The mother was saved but Abraham slipped away.  Three other boats also capsized during the rescue efforts.

Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell told Johnston County Report, “Our boat teams were back on the water this morning. While patrolling off the Neuse River, up the creek, they were able to spot the little boy in the water. They made their way over there. He was in shallow water. We were able to retrieve the body. Though it is a sad day it is a good day. We have got the little boy. He is in a better place today. His family has been notified.”

The Sheriff said the search and recovery efforts have taken an emotional toll on deputies and other first responders.  “Anytime we’re dealing with the death of a child or the search for a child it’s always hard. But when you are dealing with searching for two missing children it makes it double hard. We have our deputies, first responders, K-9 handlers, deputies assigned to the boats, search and rescue teams, they have kids. Its tough on them. I’ve seen the sadness on their faces and the tears in their eyes. I’ve also seen their work ethic and commitment with 17 hour days. I can sense this was more than a job. It was a duty. They have done it. They have done it well.”

Sheriff Bizzell said the outpouring of support from the public was greatly appreciated.  “The overwhelming support of the community with texts, emails, phone calls, food, water, drinks, fruit… people going above and beyond to be honest with you is appreciated but it is more so humbling.  When I rode out to our Fleet Services Building yesterday there were six ladies who had vans back up to our garage. They were bringing food, drinks, nabs, you name it. I was overcome with emotion because it was so humbling.  You read the national news and the negative comments about first responders. I have not seen it in Johnston County. I’ve not seen it during these operations.”

This story has been updated