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2-year-old boy found dead in Spanish Fork canal after walking off

Posted at 11:44 AM, Jul 07, 2023

SPANISH FORK, Utah — A search for a missing 2-year-old boy ended in tragedy after his body was found in a Spanish Fork canal after he had walked away from a nearby field Friday morning.

Spanish Fork police say the boy was at the American Leadership Academy football field with his father who assists with coaching football. A camera spotted the child leaving the west end of the field towards Mill Road.

Area below where child is believed to have entered canal:

After the boy's disappearance, police and volunteers began searching the area around the school, along with Spanish Fork Fire and emergency medical personnel.

Just before 10:15 a.m., the body of the child was found submerged in an irrigation canal near a debris gate about a quarter-mile from the field.

“There was a community member as well as one of our officers that were in the area of that canal," explained Lt. Cory Slaymaker of the Spanish Fork Police Department.

"They both actually got into that canal to check the grate, and they eventually located the child submerged up against the gate in the water.”

First responders attempted life-saving measures, but the boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

"We believe the child wandered about two blocks from (the Academy) where the canal is open, possibly fell into the canal. We don’t know for sure exactly how that happened," said Slaymaker.

Police believe the child may have walked out an open gate near the football field, crossed the street, and entered or fell into the canal.

A statement from the American Leadership Academy reads as follows:

We are so grateful to Spanish Fork City Police and Fire along with the many volunteers who responded so quickly and came to assist in the search. This is certainly not the outcome we were hoping for. The school is accepting donations for the family to assist with expenses.

Foul play is not suspected as the investigation into the toddler's death continues.

“This has obviously affected the entire Spanish Fork community as a whole," said Slaymaker.