HIDDENITE, N.C. — The bodies of five people, including a baby and a teen, were found in floodwaters near the Hiddenite Family Campground in Alexander County after flash flooding pounded the area. On Monday, officials identified the victims.
Authorities said the five had been missing last Thursday morning after dozens were rescued from rising floodwaters at the campground.
The baby was found on Friday, in thick brush more than 900 feet from where he had been camping with a relative. Deputies said the others were found at various places on the campground property, about a quarter-mile from the campsites.
“It just breaks my heart,” said Ray Mayberry, chairman of the board of commissioners in Alexander County.
The victims have been identified as 49-year-old Crystal Dawn LeVan Reed, 18-year-old Tyrell Jordan “Ty” Reed, 52-year-old Tina Ann Allen, 76-year-old Ronald James Wintemute, and 1-year-old Mason Lee Flowers. They were all from Hiddenite.
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Nyoka Matney said she knew one of the adults who died.
“I can’t imagine what that poor baby went through or anybody for that matter,” Matney said.
County officials said between 100 and 150 people helped with the search.
“I just got off the phone with a family of the one-year-old,” Sheriff Chris Bowman said. “They are appreciative of what everyone has done, and hopefully this will bring closure to the families.”
County officials said they would likely qualify for a disaster declaration and get help from FEMA to rebuild.
>> If you would like to help the families displaced by flash flooding at the Hiddenite campground, CLICK HERE.
The Conover Fire Department posted on its Twitter around 6:10 a.m. Thursday saying it was responding to a water rescue at the Hiddenite Family Camp Ground on Princess Lane where dozens of campers were trapped.
The water was 14-feet deep.
A short time later, Iredell County officials said they assisted with the rescue and helped bring more than 15 people to safety.
Channel 9 reporter Anthony Kustura was at the campground Thursday as swiftwater rescue crews used rafts to move through several feet of moving water from the South Yadkin River to rescue people.
The water washed away campers, vehicles and property from the campground.
“This is labor-intensive work. We’re going to be here for a while, searching, making sure everyone is accounted for and treated,” Kurt Deaton with the Mooresville Fire Department said.
According to officials on Thursday, 32 people were rescued and they were given a list of five people who were missing.
Later that afternoon, officials said Crystal Reed, Tyrell Reed and Tina Allen were found dead at the campsite after floodwaters rose quickly, inundating the campground.
Rescuers said the doors to the campers could not be opened Thursday due to high water. Crews stopped their search at 6 p.m. and picked back up at 7 a.m. Friday.
Friday afternoon, the body of Ronald Wintemute was found and a few hours later, officials said the body of 1-year-old Mason Lee Flowers was discovered.
Sheriff Bowman joined the search Friday afternoon with other deputies.
“I just want to stress that we are going to do our best and not give up," he said.
Channel 9 talked to Bowman shortly after the baby was found and he was devastated.
“I think of my own grandson,” he said. “And I feel for the family. I feel for his family so bad. But I’m thankful that the team was able to find the child.”
Alexander County experienced major flooding Thursday after getting about 7-10 inches of rain Thursday. Officials said 50 roadways across the county have been damaged, with four bridges washed out.
According to officials, another person was killed in a crash on Hopewell Church Road in the Vashti community after a bridge was washed out by high floodwaters. That person’s name has not been released.
Alexander County Emergency Services opened a storm shelter at East Taylorsville Baptist Church to help those affected by the flooding. There were more than a dozen people in the shelter overnight, including first responders.
The American Red Cross moved them into a hotel for the night.
The pastor at the church said the people who were rescued showed up with only the clothes they were wearing.
“When I say they have nothing, they have nothing to go back to,” Pastor Jaime Steele said. “Absolutely nothing. They’ve lost everything.”
Several families called the campground -- which was destroyed -- home.
“It’s really devastating, you know?” Steele said. “You see people who have literally lost everything, and they have friends and family members they are looking for, right now. It’s really tragic.”
The Charlotte Fire Department will assist in Friday’s search.
“Pray for the families,” Steele said. “For those that are missing, pray for their families, as well.”
Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.
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