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May 31, 2014 09:55 PM

Garretson Community Devastated By Drowning

Garretson, SD

After a search that started yesterday, rescue divers discovered the body of nine year-old Joey Cavallaro around 9:30 a.m. in a creek by Split Rock Park.

The Garretson Community is dealing with some devastating news today.

"Every year there's a tragedy like this. One tragedy like this is too many," Captain James Hoekman said.

Last night authorities responded to a call that Joey Cavallaro was missing around 7 p.m. The boy from Garretson was with friends at Split Rock State Park at 10:30 a.m. on Firday. His friends left the park without him around noon. Rescue divers searched the water around the park until midnight last night. The search resumed just after 9 a.m., and Cavallaro was found in a creek shortly after. The Minnehaha County Sheriff's Department believes he drowned.

Cindy Schanker has lived in Garretson for almost 20 years, and she was devastated when she heard the news.

"Very heartbreaking. This is a close-knit community. Everybody pretty much knows everybody and to see and hear something like that happen. I feel so bad for the family, just really heart-breaking," Schanker said.

While the search might have ended in heartbreak, the Minnehaha County Sherrif's Office is grateful for all the support from the community as they tried to find the missing nine-year-old boy.

"We're in an area where people are willing to help each other out. When the call for help comes out everybody comes out to assist," Hoekman said.

Schanker was at home during the initial search, but she was amazed to see how the residents of the small-town got together to search.

"I had people coming by here asking if I had seen him. I worked at the grocery store last night and had people coming in asking if I had seen him," Schanker said.

Even with the news that the town lost a young member, Schanker believes Garretson will respond to the tragic event.

"Everybody will hold together. Everybody will be there for the family," Schanker said.

The Minnehaha County Sheriff Department would like everyone to be safe while swimming this summer; urging people who aren't strong swimmers to use a life jacket and to always have people with you.

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