Body of missing 5-year-old found in Willamette River

The body of the boy was found Monday afternoon

5-year-old Allan Chaz Pearson disappeared at Wallace Marine Park on August 4, 2017. (Courtesy photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The body of the missing 5-year-old boy, who went missing Friday, was found Monday afternoon.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office said the body of Allan “Chaz” Pearson was found in the Willamette River near Wheatland Ferry, about 13 miles down the river from where he was last seen.

Authorities said they’re treating the investigation as a drowning.

Search crews spent hours Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday looking for the 5-year-old who went missing at Wallace Marine Park in Salem Friday evening.

5-year-old Allan Chaz Pearson disappeared while wearing these shorts.

Chaz was last seen at about 5:30 p.m. playing at the edge of the Willamette River with some other kids wearing distinctive green and camo swimming shorts. They were near the pedestrian bridge over the river.

Authorities searched in the water and the park itself. As it got dark, search and rescue teams from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Mountain Wave Search and Rescue used flashlights to comb the park.

The search continued late Friday night and resumed at 7 a.m. Saturday with search teams from Polk, Yamhill, Marion and Benton Counties. The American Red Cross said about 100 people are helping with the search. The Red Cross provided water and snacks for the group.

Crews searched by boat, diving, on the ground with K9s and with drones.

People who were at the park when the boy went missing helped with the search. One woman said his mother was frantic when she realized he was gone.

“The mom was really distraught, they were trying to calm her down because she was trying to look as well,” Sarah Profit told KOIN 6 news. “So it was sad.”

More than 24 hours passed with no sign of the boy, but family and friends gathered at the park for a prayer vigil. The family is part of the tight-knit Marshallese community, a native people of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific.

Family spokesperson Robert Anjain said Chaz is a happy boy who loves his parents.

“He likes swimming, he liked to play with the kids, he’s a happy boy, all smiles,” Anjain said. “The community is going to miss him, but hopefully he [comes] back.”

An 11-year-old boy drowned in the Willamette River near Wallace Marine Park on June 23.

Wallace Marine Park in Salem. (KOIN)
Wallace Marine Park in Salem. (KOIN)