Saturday's dedication of Lake Wanahoo is postponed as officials investigate the safety of a dam spillway where an 11-year-old Wahoo boy drowned.
Engineers from the state and the company that designed the spillway are examining the area where the body of Bayden Martinez was found on Wednesday.
The Lower Platte North Natural Resources District built the dam and spillway. Spokesman John Miyoshi said officials want to know if the spillway should be changed or if the entire area below the dam should be closed to the public.
The lake, which opened in April, remains open for fishing, boating and camping.
Saunders County Sheriff Kevin Stukenholtz told Channel 6 News Bayden was last seen around 5 p.m. Tuesday when he asked his mother if he could go fishing. The family lives on the north edge of Wahoo and Bayden liked to fish near the spillway of the dam at Lake Wanahoo.
The family had other plans for Tuesday night, so his mother Danelle told him he could not go fishing. Later in the evening, she noticed his fishing pole was gone and so was Bayden.
“He's never done something like this to me before and that's why I knew that something was wrong and you know how mom's have that feeling inside and I just knew,” said Danelle Rush. “I thank everybody who helped search for him and I'm sorry, I didn't want them to find him the way.”
Around 11 p.m. Tuesday, Bayden was reported missing and emergency personnel began searching around Lake Wanahoo. Employees for the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission saw something suspicious in the spillway Wednesday morning. The water flow was shut off and that is when they discovered the body. Investigators at the scene told Channel 6 News Bayden's leg was stuck in a pipe. At some point while fishing, Bayden apparently went into the water to free a snag or something and stepped too close to an inlet/outlet pipe.
“It is very hard to describe because if you are one to two feet away from the center of that tube there is virtually no suction at all, but when you get inside the circumference of that tube the suction is tremendous," said Sheriff Stukenholtz.
Bayden leaves behind his mother, her fiance and three siblings. Danelle said there is no money to bury Bayden so contributions will be accepted at any Union Bank branch. Simply ask for the Danielle Rush Fund.
Funeral arrangements are still pending. An autopsy will be conducted.