Memorial held for siblings drowned in Kankakee River

WILMINGTON, Ill. (WLS) -- Family and friends gathered at the site on the Kankakee River where a brother and sister drowned over the holiday weekend.

When 12-year old Eder Arroyo of Joliet fell in the water Monday night near a dam on the Kankakee River, his 13-year old sister Abby jumped in to try to save him.

More than two dozen family and friends of Eder and Abby Arroyo are gathered on the side of the river at the spot where both children drowned at a family Memorial Day picnic Monday evening.

Rescuers and family say the 12-year-old boy went in the water first. When his older sister noticed he was in trouble, she jumped in to try and save him.

After spending more than 24 hours beside the river as rescuers searched for Eder's body, family and friends are now back out here to properly say goodbye to the siblings.

They plan to release balloons, light candles and throw flowers into the river where they say Eder went in Monday night and was pulled under by the current.

Rescuers found Abby's body almost right away on Monday, but didn't find Eder until Wednesday morning.

"She acted like a mother to him. She was so close to him, they were like glue. She gave her life to save his. She didn't hesitate for a second, she just went in after him," said Jerry Arroyo, the children's father.

Eder could swim, but his sister Abby, could not.

Arroyo, also pointed out how extremely grateful his family is to the two men who were out on the river on Monday and tried to save his children.
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