An 8-year-old boy from Omak died after falling into shallow and icy water in Conconully on Sunday.
Chanse Tepley, who is originally from the Moses Lake area, was playing with a friend who lived in Conconully when he and his 5-year-old brother wandered off to a nearby drainage area from upper Conconully Lake.
Incoming Okanogan County Sheriff Tom Hawley said Tepley ended up behind a locked gate near the dam.
Conconully is about 20 minutes outside of Omak.
Tepley’s aunt Estefania Foreman said he walked on frozen portions of the water before falling in. She said Tepley's brother unsuccessfully tried to rescue him from the water before running to get help.
Hawley said Tepley was in the water for at least 30 minutes, according to deputies who responded to the scene. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital after doctors tried to resuscitate him.
The Okanogan County Coroner David Rodriguez said Tepley died from drowning.
Hawley said authorities will interview Tepley’s brother to confirm that his death was accidental.
Foreman said Tepley turned 8 years old on Dec. 14. His family will donate his organs to other children who may need them.
“He was smart, very helpful and thoughtful, kind, well-mannered…always willing to help other kids,” Foreman said. “He would be so happy to know he is getting to save other kids with his body parts.”
“He’s gonna be with us forever,” she added.
Tepley wanted to play guitar in a band someday, Foreman said. He was also a loving big brother and caretaker to three younger brothers.
Foreman wants to remind parents and caretakers to watch their children so tragedies like Tepley’s death can be avoided in the future.
Tepley’s family and friends have also started a GoFundMe to help with funeral costs.
“We don’t want to leave him at the morgue. We just want to get him home. We want him back with us,” she said.
“Today God called back one of his little angels! He just turned 8 years old on the 14th! God knew Chanse was going to do something amazing in his short little life!! He passed away but he is going to be saving the lifes [sic] of other little kids in need of new and healthy organs! Please help us in our time of need! Any little bit helps we just want to be able to take our Chansey home with us!” the fundraiser’s description reads.
Rodriguez said the area where the boy drowned was the mouth of the spillway to the reservoir. As of Monday, it's unclear how he ended up in the water. He said he either slipped and went into the water or broke through the ice.
Tepley was rescued by first responders. Rodriguez said they conducted CPR then took him to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.