The Coast Guard suspended their search around 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening after searching more than 93 miles along the river for a total of 55 hours.
The three kids who went missing in the water near the Crescent City Connection Bridge, 15-year-old Kevin Poole, and sisters 14-year-old Brandy Wilson and 8-year-old Ally Berry-Wilson, entered the water just before sunset on Saturday.
“The decision to suspend any search and rescue case is never easy but considering the extensive search efforts of our Coast Guard men and women, in conjunction with other response agencies, I’ve made the difficult decision to suspend our active search for the three children,” said Capt. Kelly Denning, Coast Guard Sector New Orleans commander. “Our prayers are with the families during this difficult time.”
On Sunday, the family of the missing girls clung onto items recovered at the scene, Kevin’s socks and Ally’s shoe.
“My 14-year-old went under first, and then her friend tried to save her,” explained Octavia Wilson, the mother of the missing girls, through tears. “My 8-year-old tried to help her sister and went under. I need them. I need them.”
Family members say the girls and friends were supposed to be at nearby McDonough Park, which is close to where the girls live, but they went to the river without permission.
“I need my children,” pleaded Wilson. “I don’t know how going to the park ends up in the river,” said Shwron Johnson, an aunt. “That’s just something we will never understand.”
The girls’ aunt says they have doting parents and that this was a freak accident.
“They’re not bad parents,” said Nedra Berry, the girls’ aunt. “This is the very first time they’ve ever let their kids out of their sight because the kids are normally in front of the door.”
The family is asking for support for everyone involved in the search.
“To hear a grown man cry out for his children is the hardest thing in the world, “ said Nedra. “To hear my brother cry out for his daughters and try to get his babies, and he can’t do nothing to get his babies.”
Multiple agencies assisted with the search, including the New Orleans Police Department and divers with St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.
On Monday, the NOPD, family members, and concerned neighbors continued to search for the missing children.