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Body of missing toddler recovered in Delaware River days after flood: Police

Police recover body of missing toddler in Delaware River following floods.

Delaware River
Image Source: Upper Makefield Township Police Department

Last Friday, a somber discovery brought tears and sorrow to the Delaware River’s shores. The body of a young girl was recovered, and authorities strongly believe it to be the 2-year-old Matilda Sheils, one of two children tragically swept away by a devastating flash flood over the weekend. The search for her 9-month-old brother, Conrad, continues, leaving hearts heavy with hope and fear.

As night fell, near a Philadelphia wastewater treatment plant, the young girl’s body was found, approximately 30 miles away from where Matilda was last seen. By physical description, authorities have every reason to believe it is her, but the final word will come from the Philadelphia coroner after an autopsy on Saturday. Such news has left our community in deep mourning.

This heart-wrenching incident unfolded while the Sheils family, hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, was visiting relatives and friends in the area. But fate had other plans. With a sudden “wall of water” crashing down upon them, tragedy struck mercilessly.

Fire Chief Tim Brewer of Upper Makefield recounted the horrifying moments. Matilda’s father, Jim Sheils, fought with every ounce of his strength, clutching their 4-year-old son to safety. But in the face of nature’s wrath, young Matilda and her mother, 32-year-old Katie Seley, were swept away, along with a brave grandmother who was desperately trying to save them. Tragically, Seley didn’t make it, leaving our hearts broken and her family shattered.

The loss was not confined to the Sheils family. The flood claimed four more lives in the area: Enzo Depiero, 78, and Linda Depiero, 74, of Newtown; Yuko Love, 64, of Newtown; and Susan Barnhart, 53, of Titusville, New Jersey. Their departure has left a void in the community, with many mourning the precious lives lost.

Amidst the heartache, a wave of compassion has surged through our community. Social media platforms have become a canvas for heartfelt messages, love, and support. The outpouring of empathy and solidarity has been a beacon of light in these dark times.

As the search for little Conrad continues, we hold our breath and keep hope alive, praying for a miracle. The bond of community and the strength of our hearts will carry us through this dark hour, as we come together to support the grieving families and honor the lives that have been lost.

May these tender souls find eternal peace, and may their memories be a guiding light in the storm of grief. We stand together, one heart beating as a united community, and we will remember and cherish each precious life taken too soon.

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