Missing 6-year-old Massachusetts boy found dead after mother drowned in river trying to save him

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A body was found in Massachusetts’ Merrimack River Sunday that officials believe belongs to the 6-year-old boy who fell into the river Thursday.

Mason DeChhat was with his family on Deer Island when he reached into the water to try to grab a stick and fell in, according to the Massachusetts State Police. His 7-year-old sister tried to catch him and was pulled in as well.

Their mother, 29-year-old Boua DeChhat, dove in after them but, unable to swim, was carried upstream toward the nearby Whittier Bridge along with her children.

When their father returned from the car, he, too, climbed into the water despite also not knowing how to swim. He eventually grabbed a rock by the shore and pulled himself back onto land. He was later transported taken Seabrook Hospital to be treated for exposure and hypothermia.

A fishing boat operator spotted Boua DeChhat and her daughter near the bridge and pulled them aboard, but Mason was nowhere to be found. Both mother and daughter were taken to Anna Jacques Hospital, where Boua was pronounced dead and her daughter was treated and released.

The Massachusetts State Police Underwater Recovery Unit, U.S. Coast Guard and nearby fire and police departments have been searching for Mason since Thursday night. A kayaker found the body Sunday in the Pipers Quarry area.

The remains will be turned over to the office of the State’s Chief Medical Examiner.