GoFundMe page created for missing boy found in Susquehanna River

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WATTS TOWNSHIP, PERRY COUNTY, Pa. -- Crews recovered the body of an eight-year-old boy from the Susquehanna River Monday morning.

Justin Russell was missing since Friday afternoon, after he and his 10-year-old brother were playing in the water, before police say he was overcome by the current.

Crews searched the river Monday morning.

The discovery of Justin's body made it an emotional day for all who worked to bring closure to his family.

Pennsylvania State Police trooper Brent Miller said "at approximately 11 o'clock this morning, a body was discovered in the water."

A four-day search on the Susquehanna River for Justin ended with the news no one wanted to hear.

"The search and rescue crews found the body, and confirmation was made that that was in fact the eight-year-old boy that went missing," Miller said.

Duncannon Fire Company assistant chief Ethan May said "I feel for the family. I told the mother the other day that if she needs anything, that our fire company is arms open to her. Whatever she may need."

Police believe the boy got caught in a strong current after he and his brother were playing in the river Friday afternoon. Crews combed the river throughout the weekend, and found him Monday morning.

"These waters are very tough. It made our search today a lot easier, with the visibility actually in the water. In fact, that's how the body was located," Miller said.

"For the water to clear up the way it did, because we couldn't see anything in the water the other day, so for us to be able to kind of see down in the water definitely helps us out," May said.

The boy's body was found a foot under water, about 100 yards away from where he went missing. His clothing caught on a branch under the surface.

"At that point, we kind of just went, state troopers in the boat made contact, they saw the child, and we secured the area for the moment, let every body do their thing, and then we came in and just got him out," May said.

"We would like to thank everybody who came out and assisted in this effort, from the Game Commission to the Fish and Boat Commission, to all the river search and rescue teams, to all the local fire departments, EMS departments,"' Miller said.

It was an emotional ending for all involved.

"For us as a department, the rescuers itself, it's just now we know the family has closure. They know exactly what happened to their son, and now they can do their grieving process," May said.

"The one good thing that came out of this was we were able to bring closure to the family," Miller said.

Justin's loved ones have created a GoFundMe page to cover his burial expenses.

Donations of non-perishable food items may be dropped off for the family at New Buffalo Alliance Church, 3352 Susquehanna Trail, Duncannon, PA 17020.

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