Authorities are investigating after a mother and her son were found dead in a New Jersey river, with a young child left alone calling for help.
Police were called just after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday after a boy was seen unattended in the upper pond section of Grace Lord Park in Boonton, the Morris County Prosecutor's Office said. The 6-year-old boy was screaming out for his mother, alerting others to call 911, a law enforcement source told NBC New York.
Police arrived at the location along the Rockaway River, and soon after made the heart wrenching discovery: The bodies of a 35-year-old woman and a child believed to be about 11 years old were found in the water, the county prosecutor's office said.
Acting Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll said that first responders "found footprints going into the water," with the bodies found at the top of the waterfall that the river flows into.
The other boy who was left alone along the riverbank was unharmed, according to officials.
Investigators are still trying to figure out why the mother and son were in the water to begin with. It was not immediately clear whether it was a tragic accident or if there was something more behind it.
Those who live in the area said they couldn't imagine anyone going into the river on purpose, no matter if it was summer or winter.
"Who wants to go in the water at this time of year anyway?" said Lexi Finn, who said the water is not clean. "You don't want to go in this water at all."
The identities of the mother and both boys have not yet been released. An investigation by the prosecutor's office and Boonton police and fire departments is ongoing.
"We're going to spend some time on this and do a thorough investigation to ensure that we find the facts out as to what happened here," said Morris County Sheriff James Gannon.