The search continues for five-year-old Kyle Doan, who remains under "missing" status after being swept out of his mother's grip in rushing floodwaters near Paso Robles on Monday.
The incredibly tragic story gets some new layers today as the Associated Press spoke to the boy's mother, Lindsy Doan, and learned more about what her last moments with Kyle were like. We learned on Monday that Doan and her son became trapped in floodwaters near Paso Robles, that the mother lost her grip on the five-year-old boy, and that he was swept away with the only evidence of him that turned up being a single sneaker.
Doan tells the AP that she was driving Kyle to school Monday morning, to a school where she also works, and she drove her Chevy Traverse as she often did into flowing water from a creek that was running across San Marcos Road, in a rural area between San Miguel and Paso Robles. Doan didn't realize how deep the water was in this spot, and she says, she "cursed as she lost control of the steering and the [SUV]... was carried off the road and pinned against a large sycamore tree."
Doan said she'd driven this route many times, including just days before when there was creek water over roadway. "But as soon as I hit the bottom, my car started to drift and I realized that it wasn’t the same. It was completely different," Doan tells the AP.
The vehicle began taking on water, Doan panicked, and she says that Kyle spoke up from the backseat saying, "Mom, it’s OK. Just be calm."
Doan says she was able to open front-seat door and grab onto the nearby tree. She told her son to come toward her from the backseat and leave his backpack behind, but, she says, he was quickly swept around to the other side of the tree.
"I could feel his fingers slipping from mine," Doan tells the AP, explaining that she let go of the tree and tried to grab ahold of Kyle, but he drifted off.
"I saw his head kind of floating and he was looking at me because he was going backwards,” Doan says, tragically. “I was trying to keep my head above the water, but the currents kept pulling me down. And after a while I didn’t see Kyle or what was going on."
The story is harrowing and awful, and stands out among the recent storm casualty tales. Doan has held out some hope, she says, of still finding Kyle alive, and so far he has not been declared or presumed dead. The National Guard joined in the search as of Wednesday. A friend of the family has set up a GoFundMe.
"I’ve tried to do a Google search: How long can a child not eat? How long can they be in wet clothes?" Doan says.
Previously: California Storms Have Claimed At Least 17 Lives