Bodies of mother, infant found swept down Onion Creek

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by MARK WIGGINS / KVUE News, photojournalist DENNIS THOMAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarkW_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on November 1, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 10:46 PM

TRAVIS COUNTY -- Police have recovered the bodies of 31-year-old Josefina Rodriguez and her eight-month-old son, Jay, from Onion Creek.

Rodriguez's body was recovered Friday afternoon from Onion Creek. Her son's body was found nearby a few hours later.

When hundreds of rescues began early Thursday morning, Onion Creek was at the height of its rampage. But search helicopters Friday morning delivered only news of tragedy to family members of the mother and child who had been missing since the flooding began.

Around 4:30 a.m. Thursday, family members received a frantic call from Rodriguez, trapped along with her son in floodwaters trying to cross Onion Creek on Bluff Springs Road. It was the last they would hear of either. Workers found her abandoned Nissan Pathfinder Thursday evening after the waters receded.

"The window was down so it looks like she was trying to get out of her car and was swept away," said Roger Wade with the Travis County Sheriff's Office.

Search and rescue crews Friday faced the remnants of those waters working fiercely to find them. Along with potentially dangerous wildlife stirred up by the flooding, workers battled through physical impediments as well.

"We have lots of fast-moving water, very deep, thick mud right now," said Casey England with Travis County Search and Rescue. "The debris piles are very dense and thick to where we could easily get people tangled up and poked dangerously."

Search and rescue workers found Rodriguez's body shortly after noon about a mile and a half downstream. The body of Rodriguez's infant son was found just after 4 p.m. not far from her. Workers described the area in which they were found as difficult even for the experienced crews to reach.

"We're talking fairly remote," said Wade. "You could get five feet off the road here and it's very treacherous terrain."

Even amid the heartbreak are signs the human spirit is unbreakable. Nearby neighborhood resident J.J. Flores spent the day delivering bottles of water and food to those who have lost everything.

"It just kind of just hit me that we need to something to help these people, especially since we live really, really close," said Flores.

Despite the despair, Flores says the community is rallying together, and its people will prevail.

"Everybody just needs to come together and help you know," said Flores. "That's all it is."

Both bodies have been recovered and sent to the medical examiner, where an official cause of death will be determined.

Donations can be made to the Rodriguez family at any Chase Bank to the account number 52123908. Go here for more information.

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