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Young boy, 3 men who tried to save him die in river


MERRYVILLE, La. (AP) — Search crews found the body of a little boy Monday miles from the Louisiana sandbar where he was swept away by the Sabine River while playing in shallow water and three men drowned trying to save him, the sheriff said.

Beauregard Parish Sheriff Mark Herford did not release the boy’s name or age but described him as very young.

He identified the men who drowned trying to save him as Troy M. McCollough, who lived nearby in the Junction community, Kelly Bailey of Hornbeck, and Austin Scott of DeRidder. Bailey was engaged to the boy’s mother, the sheriff said, and Scott was his best friend. McCollough just happened to be there, Herford said.

“They’re heroes and should be remembered that way,” Herford said.

Herford says the child was playing in shallows by a sandbar near Merryville and was swept away by the river. His body was found Monday at a spot Herford estimated was several miles downriver.

The sheriff said he is working with the parish police jury to get warning signs posted.

“I’ve been with the sheriff’s office since ’92. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in this exact same spot and worked drownings,” he said, adding: “That spot is deadly.”

The current and depth vary widely with power generation from Toledo Bend, and a week of rains made the current even stronger than usual, Herford said.

He said one man’s body was found late Saturday and the other two Sunday morning.


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