A devastating flash flood in the Delaware River has resulted in the tragic loss of a young girl and her mother, as well as the disappearance of her baby brother. The body of the two-year-old girl, believed to be Matilda Sheils, was recovered near a Philadelphia wastewater treatment plant. Her remains were found approximately 30 miles away from where she was swept away. Authorities are continuing their search for Matilda’s nine-month-old brother, Conrad.
The recovery of the young girl’s body was announced during a nighttime news conference held by authorities. Although an official confirmation is pending, the physical description of the body strongly suggests that it is Matilda Sheils. The Philadelphia coroner is scheduled to conduct an autopsy on Saturday to determine the cause of death. Meanwhile, the search for Conrad Sheils remains ongoing, as rescue teams tirelessly comb the area in hopes of finding the missing infant.
The family was visiting from Charleston, South Carolina when their vehicle was engulfed by a flash flood. Upper Makefield fire chief, Tim Brewer, described the harrowing moment when a “wall of water” struck the car, separating the family members. The children’s father, Jim Sheils, managed to rescue their four-year-old son. Meanwhile, Matilda and Conrad were in the care of their mother, 32-year-old Katie Seley, and their grandmother. Seley and the grandmother were tragically swept away, resulting in Seley’s death. The grandmother, however, miraculously survived the ordeal.
In addition to the Sheils family, four other individuals lost their lives in the flood. The Bucks County coroner’s office identified the victims as Enzo Depiero, 78, and Linda Depiero, 74, of Newtown; Yuko Love, 64, of Newtown; and Susan Barnhart, 53, of Titusville, New Jersey. The entire community has rallied together to offer support and condolences to the affected families.