UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -The body of a 1-year-old swept away by floodwaters in Union County was recovered Monday morning.
One-year-old Kaiden Lee-Welch was swept away in rushing waters after his mother drove around barricades on N.C. 218 until her vehicle encountered rushing water flowing and came to rest on several trees, The Union County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
“She managed to free herself and Kaiden, who was in a car seat, but lost her grip on him in the rushing water,” deputies said.
Deputies said around 10:30 a.m. that Kaiden’s body was recovered.
“Our thoughts and prayers for the little boy’s family and all the search team members and law enforcement officers who helped in this matter. Very sad situation,” deputies said.
Emergency officials say the child rescue operation began around 8:30 p.m. on the 7800 block of NC 218 East, between Dusty Land and Holly School Road in New Salem.
Numerous search crews and swift water rescue teams, including a group sent from Miami, FL, worked to find Kaiden. Deputies warn the area along N.C. 218 remains a hazard due to flooding.
“Driving through the water, where the roads are closed, is dangerous for anybody,” warned Sheriff Cathey while speaking on the incident on Monday.
“You know, this mother has suffered tragically,” said the Sheriff. “This child is everybody’s child.”
NC Highway Patrol is currently investigating how barriers placed along this road may have been moved prior to the mother losing control of her vehicle.
"As a father myself, that is not something we want to go to any day of the week,” said Asst. Chief Chad Rorie of the New Salem Fire Department. “It is something we have to take home now. It is in our memory.”
A swift water rescue group from Miami said the water was 10-feet deep and the child was found.