Death of 2-year-old boy in creek appears to be tragic accident, sheriff's office says

MONROE, Wash -- Creeks and rivers in have been running high and fast with all the rain the area has been getting. The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office says that may have played a factor in the death of a 2-year-old boy near Monroe Friday.

The parents of Grayson Hill reported him missing, saying he apparently had wandered away from home at about 12:20 p.m. Friday.

Dozens of volunteers searched for the boy and the sheriff’s office called in both their helicopters and their dive teams.  Grayson's body was found at about 3:30 p.m. in Woods Creek -- which runs about 35 feet from his home.

“That heartbreak, that panic, it’s just instant. Oh my goodness, where are they and are they OK?”

Viva Brown says almost every parent has had that terrifying moment when they’ve lost sight of their child. That’s why she immediately went to Woods Creek behind her house, when she heard Grayson was missing.

“I took binoculars and went down and watched.”

She says everyone in the area seemed to stop what they were doing to try to find the little boy.

“There were search and rescue people up and down the creek; they were along through here.”

The sheriff’s office says Grayson’s father was with the swift water teams when they found the boy three hours after he wandered off. He was in the creek, just a short distance downstream from his home.

“We were able to recover him, the medics tried to work and revive him, but he was gone,” said sheriff's Lt. Rodney Rochon. “He was extremely hypothermic and we were unable to revive him.”

The sheriff’s office says right now, they believe what happened to the boy was just a tragic accident.

“It’s a rural area, kids play outside,” said Rochon. “Having raised four boys, when they’re 2 years old, you turn your head and it’s now you see them, now you don’t.”

Neighbors say the family had just moved into the area a month ago, and may not have realized how dangerous the terrain could be this time of year.

“This creek, with as much water as we’ve had, it runs so fast,” says Brown. “There’s undercut along the banks a lot. You can step on the bank and actually sink into the creek. Maybe the baby got too close and fell in.”

Search teams say they never like it when their mission turns from rescue to recovery, but it’s especially hard when a child is involved.

“That’s the hardest one, that’s the one that cuts the deepest and hurts the most,”  Rochon said.

The medical examiner will determine the boy’s exact cause of death.

Friends of his family have set up a GoFundMe account. Click here for more information.

In addition, neighbors planned to hold a candlelight vigil at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.  Neighbors are urged to meet in the parking lot of the old Albertsons/Haggen's at 4:30 p.m. and then walk to the intersection of Highway 2 and Old Owen/Main Street with candles, signs and balloons. For more information, go to this Facebook page: