By News-Register staff • 

Salem boy's body recovered from the Willamette River

DAYTON - The body of an 11-year-old Salem boy, who drowned Friday, June 23, in the Willamette River at Wallace Marine Park, was recovered about six miles south of Dayton Wednesday night.

He was identified as Nehemiah Wilson, who would have turned 12 on Sunday, July 16, and would have been in seventh grade at Walker Middle School this fall.

Nehemiah was with family members and friends at the park when they decided to go for a swim on a 90-plus degree day. His mother called out for them to come ashore, but the boy began struggling to swim near the Union Street Pedestrian Bridge.

Several people went into the water in an attempt to save the boy, but he slipped away and was  not seen again until a citizen spotted what appeared to be a body in the river about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday. The citizen was on the bank and the body was visible from shore.

The Yamhill County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol launched a boat from the Wheatland Ferry area and proceeded upriver where they located the body.

Based on the location, time frame, and physical description of Nehemiah, deputies believed they had recovered the boy's body, according to Capt. Chris Ray.

Nehemiah's family, who had been monitoring the search effort at Wallace Marine Park, was at the Wheatland Ferry area searching for him along with personal watercraft and canoes when the sheriff's office was notified a body had been spotted in the river.

The family was advised of the situation shortly after the marine patrol boat was put into the water.

Nehemiah was pulled from the water about 7 p.m., his body was returned to the Wheatland Ferry boat launch area where he was identified by family members.

"The Polk County Sheriff's Office and Salem police did an extensive search at the time of his disappearance." Ray said.

Multiple agencies, including the Polk County Sheriff's Office, have been searching for the boy.

"These operations are very difficult, especially in powerful, high volume rivers such as the Willamette," Ray said.

He expressed his condolences to Nehemiah's family on behalf of the sheriff's office.



We lost one of our family members from the same tragedy. My heart goes out to his friends and family. Hoping his friends seek counseling, it is a difficult age to lose someone.


such a horrifically sad tragedy..Hopefully some good will come from this by alerting young people to either go to smaller river spots or streams to cool off or to wear flotation devices..uncool as they may seem they are much cooler than your family members having to endure the lifelong grief of losing you..


Ugh, just unfathomably horrible. So sad.


Ugh, just unfathomably horrible. So sad.


Ugh, just unfathomably horrible. So sad.

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