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“Heartbroken” authorities end search for baby missing in flash flood


Upper Makefield Township Police Department announced in a social media post last night it had “with broken hearts” ended the active search for 9-month-old Conrad Sheils, who was swept away by flash flood waters July 15.

The posting said authorities had “exhausted all means” of searching for the infant who went missing when a sudden and violent flash flood stopped his parents’ car and washed him, his sister, Matilda (Mattie) Sheils, 2, and their mother, Katie Seley, 32, away as they tried to reach higher ground.

Seley’s was one of five bodies recovered in the wake of the flood. The four others were Enzo Depiero, 78, and Linda Depiero, 74, of Newtown Township; Yuko Love, 64, of Newtown Township; and Susan Barnhart, 53, of Titusville, N.J.

Mattie’s body was found in the Delaware River in Philadelphia July 21 against a pier near the Philadelphia Waste Disposal Plant in the 3900 block of North Delaware Avenue, south of the Betsy Ross Bridge.

Conrad is the only one who has not been found.

The children’s father, Jim Sheils, and their older brother, Jack, 4, survived. Their grandmother, Seley’s mother, Dahlia Galindez also survived.

The family was visiting from Charleston, S.C. and was traveling to a family barbecue when the flood waters erupted near Washington Crossing.

“Although, we wanted to maintain our social media silence, we feel it is necessary to make the following announcement,” the posting said.

“For all of you who have been following this tragedy since it began on Saturday, July 15th, you are aware that we have conducted a massive search effort that involved hundreds of personnel, drones, boats, K9’s, divers, sonar, and air assets. We lost 7 precious lives, 6 of whom were returned to their families. 9-month-old Conrad was still missing and we continued exhaustive search efforts to bring him home.

“Since the weekend, we have had marine units checking the Delaware River, including along the banks of the river on both the PA and New Jersey sides. Since the beginning and throughout the search, we notified agencies up and down the Delaware all the way to Marcus Hook of our efforts. We were able to get divers in the water and cleared the areas that were outstanding. We utilized K9 teams and checked the islands in the Delaware River and along the banks of the river as well.

“At this point, we have exhausted all means of attempting to locate Conrad. With broken hearts, we regretfully announce that the active search for Conrad has concluded. The family has been made aware of this development and they would like to express their deepest gratitude for all those involved in the search efforts to bring Conrad home and to all of you for all your outpouring of love, support, and kind words during this extremely difficult time.

“Like all of you, we are truly heartbroken and saddened. Although, at this time, we were unable to reunite Conrad with his loving family, he will forever live in our hearts and he will never be forgotten. We thank all of you for your messages, for your offers to help, for all your encouragement, and for all your patience and understanding during this tragic event. We truly worked as one team and will forever be connected. We stood together and we stood strong. Thank you.”

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