Flash flooding in southeast Pennsylvania resulted in the heartbreaking death of 32-year-old Katie Seley and the disappearance of her two small children, Matilda (Mattie), 2 and Conrad, 9-months-old. The family was visiting the area from South Carolina to visit the children's grandmother who lives in Bucks County. The family was driving to a barbeque when the flash flooding took over their car and engulfed them. The children's father, Jim Shiels, was able to grab their four-year-old son and get to safety, while Katie and the children's grandmother grabbed Mattie and Conrad. They were swept away, the grandmother surviving, Katie sadly passing away and the two children are still declared missing. Upper Makefield Fire Company Chief Tim Brewer addressed the flooding incident, saying that the victims did not travel into high water, but were caught in a wall of water. “They were caught. This was a flash flood. … The wall of water came to them,” said Brewer.
“Their loving father, Jim Sheils, and their entire family would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support,” the Upper Makefield Township Police Department said on Facebook. “The family requests that you respect their privacy at this extremely painful time.”
Officials have tripled their resources while searching for the children according to Tim Brewer. With the weather improving, the resources being used to find the children now include drone and canine units. Unfortunately, the storms that took over Bucks County took the lives of five people including Katie Seley. “The mass casualty incident, like these, which we have never seen before, (is) unbelievable and devastating to all the families involved,” said Brewer. Scott Ellis, the brother-in-law of Jim Shiels, has been the spokesperson for the family during the difficult time said, “Their compassion, kindness and bravery have given us strength in this unspeakably difficult time.”