Multnomah Co. Sheriff's Office
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News Release
Sandy River drowning victims identified (Photo) - 07/21/21


The victims in Tuesday night's water rescue have been identified as 42-year-old Erislandy Fernandez-Sanchez and seven-year-old Jenni Fernandez-Suarez. Both resided in Portland.

“This weighs heavy on all of us. Losing a child, let alone two family members in a moment, is unimaginable. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this extremely challenging time,” Sheriff Mike Reese said. “Since the beginning of July, we have responded to four drownings on the Sandy River. We sincerely need your help to be safe this summer. We urge everyone in or near the water to wear a life jacket and swim at a park where a lifeguard is present.”

Multnomah County offers resource guides for swimming safely in rivers, lakes and pools. Click here to learn more about staying safe in the water.



On Tuesday, July 20th, at 8:23 p.m., the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) received a report of two people in distress in the Sandy River downstream of Dabney State Park. MCSO patrol deputies, along with Gresham firefighters, responded to the area to begin searching the area. Shortly after arriving, deputies located the adult male unresponsive in the water near the Stark Street Bridge. Deputies pulled the man from the river and began performing CPR. Paramedics arrived and rushed the man to the hospital.

During the search for the child, first responders learned the seven-year-old girl was floating on the river when the floating device she was on flipped. The adult male, her father, entered the water to bring her to shore. Unfortunately, neither were able to return to shore.

At 9:40 p.m., first responders located the child, also near the Stark Street Bridge. Firefighters performed CPR and brought her to an awaiting ambulance. She was rushed to the hospital.

Both the father and daughter were pronounced dead the hospital. The names of the victims will be released once next of kin has been notified.

Specially trained volunteers with Trauma Intervention Program (TIP NW) responded and provided emotional aid, support and resources to the victim's family.

Roads in the area were temporarily closed to allow first responders safe access to riverbanks and the Stark Street Bridge during the search.

This marks the third major water rescue call and is the third and fourth drowning on the Sandy River this month. On July 3, a 21-year-old swimmer drowned at Dabney State Park. On July 10, a 33-year-old swimmer died after being rescued at Oxbow Regional Park. None of the victims were wearing life jackets.

MCSO deputies urge visitors to swim near a lifeguard and to wear a life jacket when swimming or boating. Life jackets save lives! Life jackets can be borrowed for free at several popular parks and boat ramps across Multnomah County. Lifeguards are also available at Glenn Otto Community Park in Troutdale between Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekends.

Attached Media Files: Response_vehicle.jpg
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