Recovery crews from the King County Sheriff’s Office pulled a submerged car from a swift and swollen Green River that contained the body of a 2-year-old boy Tuesday.
The other boy, 13-year-old Austin Fuda, remained missing and is presumed drowned. The teenager was aboard the Volkswagen Beetle that Fuda’s 16-year-old stepsister accidentally drove off a slick and windy stretch of Green River Road and into the fast-moving river last Friday morning.
The driver escaped and tried to rescue the two boys, but the powerful river swept her away. She was able to swim to the bank and call for help.
Trapped inside were Austin and 2-year-old Hunter Beaupre, who reportedly was strapped into a child’s car seat.
Search and rescue crews tried valiantly to recover the car from the river since Monday, but could not. Hazardous river conditions made it impossible for rescue and recovery personnel to continue efforts.
But on Tuesday, the car eventually was pulled out of the river around 2 p.m., more than 100 yards downstream from where it went off the road, just north of the Auburn Municipal Golf Course.
When recovery crews found the car, the windshield was broken out, said Sgt. John Urquhart. Authorities believe Austin might have tried to escape, but drowned.
The team is “disheartened” that both bodies weren’t in the car, Urquhart said.
Divers began an immediate search of the river to look for Austin, and continued until late Tuesday, Urquhart said. A search of the riverbank, however, turned up no sign of the teen.
King County sheriff’s deputies plan to search the river again today, with a specially trained dog on hand to try and locate Austin.
Family, friends and supporters, meanwhile, gathered along the bank of the river. They held a vigil and remained together throughout the long, trying and emotional ordeal.
The sheriff’s office mounted aggressive efforts Monday and Tuesday to recover a car before another storm moved into the area.