The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for three New Orleans teens who went missing Saturday in the Mississippi River after its teams waded 93 miles searching for them.
Kevin Poole Jr., 15, visited a New Orleans park near the river with his 14-year-old girlfriend, Brandy Wilson, and her eight-year-old sister, Ally Wilson, on Saturday, according to WWL-TV.
Horror struck when Brandy Wilson slipped and fell into the water. Seconds later, Poole — a student and football player at L.B. Landry High School in New Orleans — jumped into the water with her sister in a desperate bid to save her.
All three were pulled down by the river’s current and have been missing since.
“The decision to suspend any search and rescue case is never easy but considering the extensive search efforts of our Coast Guard … I’ve made the difficult decision to suspend our active search for the three children,” Capt. Kelly Denning, Coast Guard Sector New Orleans commander said in a statement.
“Our prayers are with the families during this difficult time.”
The girls’ mother, Octavia Wilson, told WWL-TV her daughters went to the river on Saturday when she had to go to the hospital for her heart condition.
“I need my kids. They know I need them,” the grief-stricken mom told the outlet. “I need my children.”
Keenan Lewis, Poole’s high school football coach and former New Orleans Saints player, posted an emotional message on social media about the teen.
“Kev yesterday destroyed me and this is going to hurt for the rest of my life, yesterday you made me so proud, you sacrifice your life to try and save another, you a true soldier,” he wrote. “I’m going to miss you.”
The girls’ father, Allen Berry, told investigators that Saturday was the first time he allowed his kids to venture out without adult supervision.
“My babies are in there,” Berry told investigators during the search, according to NOLA.com.