SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL/CNN) - As a California family grieves the death of a 5-year-old boy, they are also questioning search and rescue efforts, saying officials were slow to begin looking for the missing child.
Rescue crews pulled the body of 5-year-old Ziyon Butler from the American River on Tuesday, a day after the boy went missing while celebrating Memorial Day at Tiscornia Beach in Sacramento, California.
"It’s too much. He’s high-spirited. He’s one of those kids that would just come up to you and hug you for no reason, even if you mad," said Jaquille Loggins, Ziyon’s uncle.
Loggins says the family was out enjoying the Memorial Day holiday when Ziyon disappeared from the picnic area around 6:30 p.m. At the same time, officers were already at the beach, trying to close it down because a large fight had started.
"The chaos broke out as we were trying to look for him," Loggins said.
Ziyon’s aunt says she tried to tell rangers and officers they couldn’t find the 5-year-old.
"When we told them our child was missing, they told us to wait. They told us they were busy. They told us to make the call ourselves because they were handling a situation," she said.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Sacramento County said as soon as they learned Ziyon was missing, “Rangers and Regional Parks staff worked immediately and throughout the night and morning with the Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento Sheriff’s Office and the child’s family and friends to locate the child.”
A county spokesperson also answered a question about why a Twitter alert regarding Ziyon’s disappearance wasn’t sent out until 11 p.m. They said the photo was shared with all officers and rangers on scene who were involved in the search, and the photo was sent to the public as soon as they thought it was necessary.
Ziyon’s family is left grieving and wondering how the boy ended up in the water.
"He's not going to walk away without someone knowing he’s leaving. So, that’s why it just doesn’t make any sense at all," Loggins said.