The search is over for a 10 year old Marshalltown boy who drowned in the Iowa River last night. Andres Favela-Lopez went into the water at the Center Street Dam with two friends around 7:30 PM last night. Witnesses say the was swept away, went under water and never came up.
“This has been a popular spot for many, many years for kids to come out and swim. It`s not an area where we recommend certainly, we discourage and try to move people along when we do see them here,” says Marshalltown Police Capt. Michael Hanken.
Hanken says there are strong undercurrents around the bend. While river levels are low, looks can be deceiving.
“I`ve always told my son, don`t ever go to the river without an adult and I think now this will really be a reality check for him,” says Michelle Stier.
Stier’s son is friends with Favela-Lopez.
“He was always energetic and a happy little kid. He always had a smile on his face,” she says.
According to Stier, the boy couldn’t swim and just had another close call in the water.
“The day before, they had been at the aquatic center swimming and a similar thing happened, but they saved him,” says Stier.
“He`s like the little brother I never had. Always took care of him, took him places, helped him get through anything rough,” says 17-year-old Cruz Garcia.
Family and friends stayed throughout the night even after the search was called off.
“I wanted to see him be found. I guess it brings some kind of closure,” says Garcia.
A dozen agencies helped in the search and recovery. Rescue dogs helped narrow their search. Less than five minutes after going into the water this morning, Story County dive teams found what they were looking for.
“Even though we consider it to be a successful recovery, the main focus is we were able to bring the young boy home,” says Hanken.
“It`s going to be hard without him. I`m used to seeing him every day. So things are going to be a lot different. I`m going to miss him,” says Garcia.
Authorities are still investigating the drowning.
Friends have set up an account for the family. Any donations can be sent Home Federal Savings Bank in care of Andres Favela-Lopez. The address is 303 West Main Street Marshalltown, IA 50158.