LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – Two reserve Navy SEALs found the body of 10-year-old Garrett Vadino early Monday morning at Willow Grove Park after Lisbon police called off the search following a drowning Sunday evening.
“The search was called off due to darkness. That is a very wise decision in these circumstances because the water is deceivingly calm in some areas,” Lisbon Police Chief Michael Abraham said.
The Navy SEALs live in the area and were enlisted by the Vadino family to help in the search. They found the boy’s body around 2:45 a.m. Monday about a mile downstream near Route 164.
“We knew right away that it was him,” Adam Newbold, who has been a Navy SEAL for 20 years, said.
He and his brother found the body.
“A child is always heartbreaking and something you never wish to see, especially if you have kids of your own,” Newbold said.
Police said after a kayaking trip, the two young boys went to the creek to rinse off their shoes. First, Vadino slipped on a rock and fell in the water, then 14-year-old Carson Bonar slipped in while trying to save him. Todd Vadino, 44, tried to go save them both and drowned.
Bonar initially was taken to Salem Community Hospital and then flown by helicopter to Akron Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 11 p.m. Sunday. Abraham said one of his officers started CPR on Bonar and they got a pulse before taking him to the hospital.
Todd Vadino’s body was recovered shortly after he fell into the water around 6 p.m. Sunday.
Vadino family friend Leslie Reese told WKBN Monday that a crowdfunding campaign has been started to raise money for the family.
Abraham said life jackets were found on the shore. He said he believes the jackets were used while the three were kayaking, but the drowning happened when the boys were cleaning off their shoes at the spillway of the dam, where the creek flows faster.
Todd Vadino was the metal shop teacher at Salem High School for the past two years and the assistant principal said everyone knew his name. He was the father of four and had a huge impact on the students he taught.
Salem Superintendent Dr. Joe Shivers said Vadino didn’t know it, but he was set to receive an “All-Star Educator” award next spring.
“He established himself as just an outstanding teacher. He was as enthusiastic as any teacher I have ever seen. He was always optimistic,” Shivers said.
Garrett Vadino had just completed fourth grade at Leetonia Elementary School and principal Ed Ridgeway said he always had a smile on his face. Educators there called him a respectful and polite young man who was an active Scout.
Carson Bonar was a recent graduate of West Branch Middle School, where he was an honor role student. He also was the recipient of the Damascus Ruritan Community Service Award and also was into Boy Scouts.
West Branch Principal Roger Kitzmiller said he was an honor roll student with a bright future.
“I would want people to rememebr Carson for the person of integrity that he is, his desire to serve people and the community,” Kitzmiller said.
He said there are not any concrete plans for a vigil, but it is something leaders from all three school districts are talking about and it may be set for later this week.
“Anytime you lose a young one, anybody, even a father, it’s a huge loss. It is going to take some time to recover, but together we can,” Ridegway said.