UPDATE: Authorities find bodies of mother, son in flood waters
Indiana Conservation Officers confirmed Saturday afternoon they had found a mother and son who disappeared beneath the flood waters of White River near Moon Road earlier that day.
The body of 5-year-old Bronson Liggett was found still in the flood waters around 4:20 p.m. His mother, 24-year-old Jana Payton, was found about 20 minutes later.
Conservation Officer airboats, divers and rescue personnel and boats from Owen County Rescue all took part in the search.
"I just feel like I've cried so much that I don't know if I can shed anymore tears right now," said Payton's cousin Mary Finney. "She seemed tired and said she was exhausted and she was going to go home and her and Bronson were going to turn in for the night. That was the last words we said to each other."
Investigators said a friend of Payton's was driving at the time. They believe she was unfamiliar with the gravel road next to the White River. The car became submerged in flood waters that filled what was normally a cornfield in rural Monroe County.
According to DNR Conservation Officer Angela Goldman, "So many of these vehicles these days are very lightweight and it just doesn't take much water, especially if it's moving swiftly, to push that car right off the roadway."
According to Finney, the driver put the car in reverse and tried to back up at that point, but the car wouldn't move. As water started to fill the car, all three moved to the roof. The friend went up a nearby hill to look for help but by the time she got back, Payton and Liggett had disappeared and she never saw them again.
"We know that the car was completely underwater so, you know, they could have just been swept right off the top of the car," said Ofc. Goldman.
Investigators say the car's driver is devastated, as is the victims' family. They also say this is an important safety reminder never to try driving through flooded streets.