Two teenagers, ages 17 and 18, are missing in the Trinity River near the SH 105 bridge in Moss Hill after they disappeared while trying to rescue a 5-year-old girl Sunday night.
According to Sgt. Michelle Deshotel with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, the young girl became distressed while swimming in the water. The girl’s father, Abel Castellanos, as well as two unrelated teenagers jumped in the water to help her. She made it safely to shore.
The father was airlifted to a Houston area trauma center. The extent of his injuries is unknown. The two teenagers are believed to have drowned.
The family of the victims watched as a rescue boat from Tarkington VFD searched the murky waters. LCSO Det. Sean Mitchell, who is overseeing the investigation, used a drone aircraft to search the river from above.
The search for the two teenage boys – 18-year-old Jaerson Alvarez and 17-year-old Wilmer Alexi Rodriguez – will resume at sunrise Monday morning. Authorities felt the conditions of the river were too unsafe to continue the search at night.
According to Deshotel, the family is from Honduras and may have been unaware of the dangers of swimming in the Trinity River.
As the search was underway, the fire chiefs of Hardin, Tarkington and Cypress Lakes, and County Fire Marshal Bill Hergemueller discussed the dangers of the Trinity River.
“It’s the number 2 most-deadly river in the state. You should not swim in this river. Ever. Period,” said Cypress Lakes Fire Chief Erskin Holcomb.
“I don’t know why people want to swim here,” added Tarkington Fire Chief Paul Gregory.
With drownings a regular occurrence in the Trinity River, Texas Game Warden Lauren Iles said she has been concerned about all the recent activity on the river sandbar this year.
“There are a lot of people who come here from other cities and counties, and they might be unaware of the dangers. It’s just something we’ve been dreading all year,” Iles said. “The Trinity River is a very dangerous river. People who aren’t familiar with it might be deceived by how calm it looks on the surface, but below the surface there is a lot of hidden debris and a lot of currents you can’t see.”
Bluebonnet News will update this story on Monday after the search resumes.