Father dies trying to save 5-year-old son from drowning in North Carolina river

ByABC7.com staff KABC logo
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Body of 5-year-old found during search of Neuse River; father still missing
Wayne County officials have recovered the body of a 5-year-old who went missing while fishing with his father Wednesday.

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (KABC) -- A North Carolina father and his 5-year-old son were out fishing when the trip took an unimaginably tragic turn.

Witnesses said Braylin Holman fell off the dock into the Neuse River. That's when his father, Sterling Holman, immediately jumped in to try to save him.

A witness on the riverbank called 911 and a boater in the area floated in their direction to try to help.

"The baby fell in the water and his daddy jumped in after him," the caller told dispatch. "The current pushed the baby away. The daddy jumped in the water behind him and our buddy was coming back with the boat to load our boat up and he went to go get him."

Search crews arrived shortly thereafter and began searching by boat and helicopter. Tragically, both the father's and son's bodies were recovered this week.

"It's definitely a tough situation," said Joel Gillie, a spokesperson for the local sheriff's office. "Our hearts are out with the family, of course. They're going through a lot right now. But also the witnesses that were out here yesterday. It is a tough scene."