Aunt pulls 6-year-old from SUV going down boat ramp before both drown in West Virginia

A child and his aunt drowned in a West Virginia river after the woman pulled the 6-year-old from a moving car during a fishing trip, authorities say.

Night fishing was a family tradition, Joniesha Johnson told WSAZ. She and her sister, Michelle Godsey, 31, were passing that tradition onto their own children this past weekend in Dunbar, located right outside of Charleston.

Godsey took 6-year-old Deonco Howard, her nephew and Johnson’s son, to go night fishing at the Shawnee boat ramp off the Kanawha River on Friday, June 17, the Kanawha Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

But the night did not go as planned.

According to the sheriff’s office, Deonco went to turn off the headlights of their SUV. The SUV rolled down the boat ramp, with the boy inside, and hit Godsey.

Godsey managed to pull Howard from the vehicle, but neither survived, drowning in the river.

Local law enforcement began searching the river after receiving a 911 call at 1:30 am, the sheriff’s office said. Search crews recovered Godsey’s body on Saturday and Howard’s body on Sunday. Initially, authorities identified the aunt under an alias, later learning her real name.

“Everything he did with football, basketball whatever sport he did, he wanted to make sure you knew who Deonco was,” Johnson told WSAZ of her son.

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