Search for toddler lost in Whitewater River set to resume Thursday morning

CEDAR GROVE, IN (WAVE) -Rescue crews will continue their search Thursday morning for a toddler who is lost in the Whitewater River Wednesday afternoon.  Officials are now calling the search a recovery operation.

Police got a call Wednesday afternoon that there was a 17-month-old in the river east of Cedar Grove near the Whitewater Campground on U.S. 52.

Police say that the 17-month-old was out canoeing with its mother, Carmen Sickmeier, 34, and her boyfriend, Larry J. O'Bannion, 33, when their kayak capsized. Indiana State Police say that Sickmeier and O'Bannion were able to get out of got out of the river and ran down the road for help.  Preliminary reports say the 17-month-old was wearing a life jacket when the child fell out, but was not wearing it correctly. Sickmeier and O'Bannion were not wearing their life jackets.

Indiana Conservation Officer Steve Miller said that officers were conducting a surface search to find the missing toddler, adding, "Diving is not feasible due to the swiftness of the water."

"This river is way underestimated by the tourists that visit. It's a very dangerous stretch of water," said Franklin County Sheriff Ken Murphy.

The toddler's name has not been released by police.

"It's a tragedy. I'm not sure we're even focused on that aspect of this yet. Right now we are just trying to continue recovery efforts, and go from there," said Officer Miller.

Crews from Franklin County, the Indiana State Police, and the New Trenton Fire Department were all on scene assisting with the recovery operation. The search will resume at 7:00 am at the New Trenton Fire Department on Thursday.

"This is summer tourist season here in Franklin County. We are dealing with something like this about every weekend," said Sheriff Murphy.

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