Missing boy, 6, found dead in river near Big Four Ice Caves

Aidan McClanahan. Photo courtesy of the McClanahan family.

GRANITE FALLS, Wash. - A 6-year-old boy died Sunday after he got separated from his family near the Big Four Ice Caves, and authorities now say drowning was the likely cause of death.

The boy had been hiking with his family on the trails around the cave when he went missing at around 6 p.m., according to the Snohomish County Sheriff''s Office.

Search and rescue crews on the ground and in a helicopter immediately began looking for the child, and just before 9 p.m. they found his body in the South Fork of the Stillaguamish River, about a mile downstream from the trail's footbridge, which crosses the river.

The boy was located in the river by the Snohomish County sheriff's helicopter. When search teams reached him on foot, they unsuccessfully attempted to revive him with CPR, said Snohomish County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Shari Ireton.

The victim was identified Monday night as Aidan McClanahan. His family released a statement thanking everyone for their support and prayers.

"Aidan was a bright and cheerful little soul taken too soon from his family who will miss him deeply. He loved being in a large family and was proud of having seven siblings. He loved his pets, playing, reading, football, eating pizza and building with Legos. He wanted to be a policeman and loved to play soldiers with his brothers and sisters," the statement reads.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office said McClanahan's cause of death was drowning.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to pay for McClanahan's funeral expenses.

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