The victims include Laurel residents Shawn Roberts, 47; Burton Spurlock, 48; Felina Lewis, 35; and three minors, ages 13, 7 and 4

By Joelle Goldstein
March 21, 2020 05:45 PM
Indiana Conservation Office

Six people, including three minors, are dead after a bridge collapsed in Indiana and swept their cars away in floodwaters, authorities said.

Laurel residents Shawn Roberts, 47; Burton Spurlock, 48; and Felina Lewis, 35; as well as three minors — ages 13, 7 and 4 — were all pronounced dead by the Franklin County Coroner following the incident, according to a press release from Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources obtained by PEOPLE.

The tragedy unfolded on Friday morning near a bridge over Sanes Creek and Tee Hill Roads, hours after a heavy rainstorm passed through the area, the press release stated.

A spokesperson for the DNR said the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a witness around 5 a.m. local time, reporting that they saw car headlights off the roadway and heard cries for help.

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Authorities who responded to the scene found two vehicles were involved after a bridge “had partially washed away,” the DNR spokesperson said.

“An initial search located one vehicle, and a second vehicle was located a short time later,” the release stated, adding that four bodies were initially recovered by search crews and two others were believed to be missing.

However, a few hours later, authorities revealed that they had located a fifth victim around 3 p.m. that day.

“The search will continue for the sixth and last victim,” they wrote in an updated press release. “Search operations will be suspended for the night due to darkness. Operations will resume tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.”

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On Saturday, search crews announced they had found the sixth and final body in the floodwaters and released all of the victims’ identities.

In the wake of the tragedy, Franklin County’s Sheriff Pete Cates issued a statement and thanked everyone who helped with the search and recovery efforts.

“We are extremely thankful for the overwhelming outpouring of support by all agencies involved, as well as the many community members who assisted in search efforts,” he said, noting that next of kin had been notified for all victims.

At this time, the scene remains under investigation by Indiana Conservation Officers and the Franklin County coroner’s office, according to the DNR.

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