The search for a 9-month-old baby who was swept away by floodwaters in southeast Pennsylvania has come to an end after 12 days of searching, with no sign of the child, authorities have confirmed. The baby boy, Conrad Sheils, his 2-year-old sister Matilda “Mattie” Sheils, and their mother disappeared as the family was attempting to escape intense flooding caused by a violent storm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania on July 15.
Tragically, Mattie’s body was found in the Delaware River, 32 miles away from where she was swept away. The body of their mother, 32-year-old Katie Seley, had been previously discovered. Despite an extensive search effort involving hundreds of personnel, drones, boats, K9s, divers, sonar, and air assets, local police announced on Wednesday that the search for Conrad had ended.
The Upper Makefield Township Police Department expressed their regret, stating, “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.” Marine units had thoroughly searched the Delaware River, while K9 teams scoured the islands and banks along the river.
The Sheils family, who were visiting from South Carolina, were caught in the flash flooding while driving to a barbecue. Despite the efforts of the mother, grandmother, and father to save their children, the mother, young siblings, and grandmother were swept away. Miraculously, the father and their 4-year-old brother managed to reach safety. The children’s grandmother survived and received medical treatment.
Floods pose a significant danger and are one of the deadliest weather hazards in the United States, according to the National Weather Service. It only takes 2 feet of rapidly moving water to carry away most vehicles, including pickups and SUVs. The tragic incident serves as a reminder of the devastating power and unpredictability of floods, highlighting the need for caution and preparedness during severe weather events.