Family says toddler found in river |

Family says toddler found in river

AP PhotoElsha Guel, mother of late Jose Matthew Jauregui Jr., is assisted by an unidentified member of the coroner's office, left, her husband, second left, and firefighter Steve Maddoch, fourth left, after she identified the body of her 2-year-old son after it was found the South Platte River in Denver.

DENVER ” The body of a 2-year-old boy who was swept away from his mother during a flash flood was found Wednesday in the South Platte River, family members said.

A construction worker spotted the body seven to 10 miles downstream from where Jose Matthew Juaregui Jr. disappeared on Monday night, authorities said.

Floodwaters had engulfed Jose and his mother as they were walking on a bike path beside the river.

“It’s a sad day and a happy day,” said Julie Guzman, Jose’s great-aunt. “It’s a sad day that we found him dead. It’s a happy day that we found him.”

Family members had come to the river earlier Wednesday and prayed the boy would be found, Guzman said.

Jose’s mother, identified by relatives as Elsha Guel, collapsed in tears as the boy’s body was carried to a waiting vehicle.

Searchers were also on the lookout for another possible victim from a separate incident during Monday night’s flooding.

Police Officer Jairon Katz spotted a teenager or young man in a swollen stream and jumped in but could not reach him, authorities said.

Authorities initially said the man was presumed dead, but no one has been reported missing, so he may have pulled himself out of the water, police spokesman Sonny Jackson said.

Katz was rescued from the water by firefighters and hospitalized with symptoms of hypothermia.

Guel had been out for her regular walk with her son when a sudden thunderstorm dumped more than an inch of rain and sent a torrent of water down the river.

The mother, found clinging to a concrete barrier in river, released her grip and slipped away from a rescuer when told her son had not been found, Champagne said. She was pulled from the river about 100 yards downstream.

“She … looked at the rescuer and let go of the concrete (barrier) and said she no longer wanted to live without her child,” Champagne said.

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