Two young brothers were found dead in a river near their home hours after an AMBER Alert was issued on Feb. 25, according to local media reports. Their mother documented the desperate search in social media posts leading up to their discovery of their bodies.
Barak Eatts, 5, and Jhulio Eatts, 3, were found dead in a river near their home the next morning after walking barefoot to a park near Ross River in the Townsville area of Queensland, Australia, the New Zealand Herald reported.
The brothers were seen heading toward Cranbrook Park via a neighborhood security camera at around 4:30pm, after the older of the two came home from school.
Bodies of three and five-year-old boys pulled from flooded Queensland river TVNZ The boys’ devastated mother has been swamped by heartfelt messages of support on Facebook. https://t.co/LMlNXo6RZs pic.twitter.com/q9iwXVVgZM
— Weather iCom (@Themebar) February 26, 2019
Their mother, Leann Eatts, had been watching the boys playing in the yard from the kitchen before they wandered off to the park, where they often played. Family members said the boys were not supposed to go to the park by themselves, according to local media reports.
Eatts reportedly noticed the boys were missing at around 5:30pm when she called them in for dinner. She wrote her first Facebook post at 8:45pm.
“[Expletive] me man my 2 babies have been missing since 5.45,” Eatts wrote on the social media site hours after her children disappeared.
“I got 8 police cars at my house and everyone on foot looking for them please keep a close eye out for them on the streets near stock lands cranbrook and surrounding suburbs freaking rite out now. They only 5 and 3. Both have shorts no shirt or shoes. They just walked off. Please help Townsville.”
A large rescue effort ensued, with law enforcement officials, hundreds of volunteers, and a police helicopter searching the area near the river and neighboring suburbs for hours. Shortly before 12am, an AMBER Alert was issued for the boys, roughly six hours after they were last seen.
Eatts second Facebook post was at 12:45am. The mother thanked everyone for their efforts in the search for the children.
The devastated mother of two little boys who drowned in a North Queensland river has described their deaths as a “black hole” that ripped out her insides. https://t.co/0L83lvgUED
— The Northern Miner (@northern_miner) February 27, 2019
“Thank you everyone I can not express my gratitude right now. Still can’t find them we got police motorbike’s and choppers out and 20 police units have set up on cranbrook park. I am so tired and empty.”
Approximately 30 minutes later, she pleaded for help on the social media site.
“Townsville council turning on lights in surrounding parks. Please if you live near a park or driving past it take time to have a look they will be cold hungry and tired now. Mum is missing you boys so so much.”
At 4:35am, she asked Facebook friends to change their profile picture to a photo of Barak and Jhulio.
“Jhulio only had dark blue shorts on and Barak is in his cranbrook school uniform red white and blue shirt. Please send these photos viral. I thank all who has put themselves out to help find these 2 wonderful boys.”
The boys bodies were found near each other in the Ross river shortly before 6am on Feb. 26. It is believed they were swimming before they died, according to police.
The Queensland Police Service have sadly located the bodies of two boys who went missing from Cranbrook yesterday. https://t.co/VEc9lFAyFP
— Queensland Police (@QldPolice) February 25, 2019
“Where they’d been jumping in swimming, it’s quite deep and it’s got a steep bank and there are weeds and other debris in that area,” Sergeant Ian Wilkie told Sunrise.
“They looked like they were having fun and it’s turned to tragedy.”
Eatts wrote her last post on Facebook several hours after the boys were discovered in the river. The mother thanked everyone for their help searching for her sons.
“Kc and I just need to recoup for a minute.” she wrote. “And I will try and get back to all of you.”
The boys’ aunt Ros Eatts described their mother Leann as distressed and “inconsolable” after the tragic discovery.
“Everyone’s in shock and total devastation,” Ms Eatts told the Townsville Bulletin.
“I’m totally gutted. Little Jhulio was three years old — I used to call him little Dumbo, I used to tell him one day he could fly one day with his ears — now I think, ‘fly with the angels’.”
Eatts later deleted her social media posts.