Father of 2 kids who drowned in Kankakee River speaks out: 'It's hard'

The father of two children who became trapped in strong currents on the Kankakee River in Wilmington on Memorial Day is now talking about the tragedy.

- The father of two children who became trapped in strong currents on the Kankakee River in Wilmington on Memorial Day is now talking about the tragedy.

Jerry Arroyo's 13-year-old daughter Abiyail was pulled from the river Monday and was unresponsive. She later died at the hospital.

After several hours of searching the river Tuesday, there is still no sign of her 12-year-old brother.

"It's hard. It's like you're getting your heart ripped out,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo says knowing his 12-year-old son is still in the river is almost too much to bear.

"It hurts that I have to go another day knowing my son is in there. I didn't want to leave him there. All I can do is go home and cry,” he said.

The search for the Joliet boy continued Tuesday with no result. Wilmington Deputy Fire Chief Tom Friddle says the rising water due to heavy rain is making it more difficult for the recovery team.

"It allows us to get boats in places we couldn't before. But it also increases the velocity of the current,” he said.

Arroyo says everything happened so fast, and in a split second his kids were in trouble. The location where his two children became trapped in the current is notorious for being a dangerous spot. There are signs posted that warn of the dangers, but Arroyo says more needs to be done.

"They need to put a fence on the sides to keep children off of there,” he said.

Children like his daughter, Abiyail, who had dreams of going to college and becoming a nurse

"Abiyail was always on tip of her grades and studies. She had a future planned out,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo says he is thankful for the people who tried save his children, and for the many people who are searching for his son. That search is expected to resume Wednesday.

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