Body of missing 7-year-old found after family tubing on North Carolina river goes over dam


EDEN, N.C. (NewsNation Now) —  The body of a 7-year-old has been found after a family tubing on a North Carolina river went over a dam last week, local officials said Sunday.

Nine family members went tubing on the Dan River around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night, just before dark. The group went over a dam that’s about 8 feet high next to a Duke Energy plant. 

A Duke Energy employee who saw some of the tubers called the situation in to 911 Thursday afternoon, according to Rockingham County Emergency Services Director Rodney Cates.

“I walked into the station and I heard hollering,” said the frantic 911 caller. “It sounded like they were hollering for help,”

Four people were rescued Thursday, while three tubers’ bodies were found that day.

“I can see about five or six floats but then I only see one — like one or two people on the corner of the concrete,” said the 911 caller.  

Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page identified those rescued as Reuben Villano, 35; and children Eric, 14, and Irene, 18, all of Eden. Also rescued were Karlos Villano of LaPorte, Indiana. 

“They had been subject to the elements for 19 hours, somewhere in that neighborhood,” Cates said.

The sheriff’s office identified the victims as Bridish Crawford, 27, and Antonio Ramon, 30, of Eden; and Sophie Wilson, 14, also of LaPorte, Indiana.

Teresa Villano, 35, of Eden, and Isiah Crawford, 7, of Eden were missing until Crawford’s body was found on Sunday after someone called 911 around 10:02 a.m. and reported seeing a body in the water.

The search for the final victim is still ongoing.

Cates said the family missed warnings about the dam before going over it.

“It’s an overhead sign,” Cates said. ” I had been asked earlier ‘was it under water?’ It was an overhead sign that they can see prior to coming to the dam.”

Officials stated that it did rain in the area and that can increase water velocity at low-head dams like the one on the Dan River. They are urging every family to take proper safety precautions before getting on the water this summer, including wearing a life vest at all times and paying close attention to signs.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WGHP contributed to this report.

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