Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in Haldimand County have confirmed they’ve recovered the body of nine-year-old Alex Ottley, who was swept into Lake Erie in mid-February.
Const. Rod LeClair told Global News that police were called to Peacock Point around 2 p.m. on Tuesday after a resident spotted something unusual near the lake.
LeClair says a helicopter that was helping with an unrelated search in the area flew over and confirmed there was something in the water.
“An OPP Marine Unit member attended the area in a vessel and located the body of 9-year-old Alex Ottley, east of where he was last seen, and approximately 40 metres from the shoreline,” said LeClair.
Ottley had been the subject of an extensive search for close to three weeks involving police and volunteers in late February and early March.
A team from Kitchener travelled down to Lake Erie during the first week of March after OPP had to scale down their search with dive teams and a helicopter.
Over a dozen volunteers with marine units, dogs and drones picked up that search, directed by the Advanced Tactical Training Search and Rescue (ATTSR) group, which typically assists in private searches.
A dive team from Manitoba also joined ATTSR in its search in early March.
Rebecca Brunke, who said Ottley was her cousin’s son, called the nine-year-old a “hero.”
Brunke believes Ottley was responsible for the rescue of an eight-year-old boy who also fell into the lake on Feb. 15.
“I am proud to say Alex was my cousin’s son. It’s an honour to know this brave boy,” Brunke said.
Brunke started a GoFundMe campaign in an effort to raise money to help support the family with funeral and family therapy costs, which has, to date, exceeded its $15,000 goal.