A tragedy has rocked a small Australian community as the bodies of two missing children were found in a local river.
Aboriginal brothers, Barak, age five, and Jhulio, age three, were found submerged in the Ross River, near the Cranbrook in Townsville just before 7 am Tuesday morning.
The boys were last seen alive in chilling CCTV footage.
The eldest boy was wearing his school uniform as both children walked towards the river.
Before the discovery of the children’s’ bodies, their mother, Leeann Eatts posted a series of desperate messages on social media, urging the local community to help find her boys.
An amber alert was sent out by police on Monday after the boys did not return to their home in the suburb of Cranbrook around 5:30 pm.
Eatts posted heartbreaking messages of desperation shortly before the grisly discovery.
“Mum is missing you boys so much,’she posted to Facebook.”
‘”**k me man my two babies have been missing since 5.45. I got eight police cars at my house and everyone on foot looking for them please keep a close eye out for them on the streets… they just walked off. Please help Townsville.”
“I am so tired and empty.'”
Just before the discovery of the bodies, their mother thanked all those involved in the search to find her “two wonderful boys.”
Before the discovery, Senior Sergeant Wilkie said a search for the two children underway involved over 60 police officers with the help of local fire crews and State Services volunteers.
‘We all know it has been a challenging month for Townsville as it is and the entire community pitched in to search for these boys,’ he told The Today Show.
‘It is certainly distressing for us and we can only imagine what the families are going through and our heart and thoughts are going to them. The grief I could imagine would be unbearable for them.
‘We hoped for a better outcome. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be… the community came out in force last night. We were hearing stories of dozens of people searching in various areas, going and buying batteries for torches. We do thank them for the assistance in this.
‘Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.’
The officer said the boys often played at Cranbrook Park but did not return home at their usual time.
“We do believe that the boys, given their age, are quite possibly frightened and that they are small, they are curled up somewhere,” Senior Sergeant Wilkie said.
After, the children were initially reported missing the officer described the parents as being “distraught and upset.”
Police received a tip late Monday night that the boys were seen jumping into the Ross River.
Their bodies were found close to the park.
A police helicopter hovered over the area as officers on motorcycles drove up and down the river coast looking for the children.
Just after the boys were discovered, Townsville MP Scott Steward called their deaths an “absolute tragedy.”
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of these kids – I can’t imagine what they are going through, the anguish, the heartbreak,'”he told the ABC.
The MP went on to commend those who participated in helping find the missing children and bringing some closure to their family.
“It’s that Townsville strong spirit that we have… we band together, we look after one another, and this is where we stand strong together and this is where we rely on the community to get us through these tough times,” he said.
Our hearts go out to the family of these two innocent angels. May their family and community someday find peace.