Police say that the bodies of two boys, who were last seen together not long before they disappeared over a week ago, were found in different places in the water off of Manhattan on Saturday.
The last time police saw Alfa Barrie, 11, she was in the Morrisania neighborhood of the Bronx on May 12. Alfa was last seen on May 14, and his body was found in the Hudson River near West 102nd Street on Saturday morning.
Police say that 13-year-old Garrett Warren was last seen in front of his Harlem home at 1:30 a.m. on May 13. Garrett was last seen on Monday, and on Thursday morning, his body was found in the Harlem River on the east side of Manhattan.
The police said that they were still looking into what happened to cause the de*aths. A medical examiner’s office spokeswoman said on Saturday that Garrett drowned and died as a result.
In addition, she said that an investigation would be done to find out how Alfa died.
We don’t know how or when the boys got into the water. For example, Capt. Richard Werner, owner of Safe Boating America, a company that teaches boating safety, says that two people who start out in the same place in a body of water can end up in very different places.
Mr. Werner says that there are a lot of things that can change how far currents can carry someone. How far and in what direction someone is carried will depend on how strong the current is at the time, how well they can swim, and how long they can hold on to a branch or other debris.
“Any river’s currents can be dangerous,” he said. “However, the Hudson and Harlem rivers are different because they are both big bodies of water with fast currents and a lot of water traffic.”
Since the boys went missing, search efforts have been going on, led by their families and people in the community.
A multilingual community news site called Africa in Harlem said that Alfa’s parents and sister last talked to him on May 12 before he went to school at Democracy Prep Harlem Middle School.
The family found out Alfa wasn’t with them when another sister from the Bronx called early Saturday morning to say he hadn’t come to spend the night at her house like he usually does on Friday nights. She said that Alfa would often leave school early on Fridays to visit his younger sister, who goes to the same school.
Around 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, police were called to the area of the Madison Avenue Bridge because someone said there was a body in the water. Iesha Sekou, CEO and founder of Harlem-based anti-violence organization Street Corner Resources, says Garrett’s mother was told of his de*ath that evening at the 32nd Precinct and later identified him.
“It just broke my heart,” Ms. Sekou, who was helping the families of the boys and the police search, said.
She said, “I’m a mother.” “And because of that, you couldn’t be a mother and not feel that.”
On May 12, the outreach workers for her group found out that two people, who were first thought to be adults, had fallen into the river. She said that by the next morning, kids in the neighborhood were saying that it was really two kids.
The de*aths of the two boys made Ms. Sekou realize how dangerous the areas are near the city’s rivers. According to her, her group had talked to city leaders about the problem and the need for more safe places for kids to hang out.