2 Boys Found Dead in Separate N.Y.C. Rivers May Have Been Horsing Around Near the Water: Reports

The bodies of Alfa Barrie, 11, and Garrett Warren, 13, were found days apart after the boys, who were last seen together in Harlem, were reported missing

NYPD News/Twitter Alfa Barrie and Garrett Warren
NYPD News/Twitter Alfa Barrie and Garrett Warren

Two boys who were found dead in separate New York City rivers days apart may have been roughhousing before both entering the water, according to multiple reports.

The bodies of both Alfa Barrie, 11, and Garrett Warren, 13, were located in the days after they were reported missing last week.

The boys were last seen around 6 p.m. on May 12 by 145th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York Police Department (NYPD) Deputy Chief Brian Gill said in a press conference last Tuesday.

On Thursday, Warren’s body was found in the Harlem River, according to CNN and CW affiliate WPIX. Barrie’s body was found two days later in the Hudson River near the Upper West Side, CNN and News 12 New York reported.

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Police have said the boys accessed the Harlem River by going through a hole in a nearby fence, per CBS affiliate WCBS-TV.

The boys may have been horsing around near the river before they entered the water, according to CNN, NBC affiliate WNBC, and CW affiliate WPIX.

A teenage boy allegedly told authorities that the two were playing when one of them shoved the other towards the water, reported WNBC and CNN, both citing law enforcement sources. The teen said he did not see them exit the water, per CNN.

After one of the boys went into the river, the other slipped and fell into the water as well, reported WPIX, citing police sources

"As it shapes out, it seems to be more of a profound tragedy and probably horseplay gone wrong," said former NYPD Deputy John Miller, according to ABC affiliate WABC-TV.

The medical examiner's office determined that Warren died by accidental drowning, CNN and WNBC reported. Results of Barrie’s autopsy are pending.

The NYPD did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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Democracy Prep Public Schools has confirmed that Barrie was a student at one of its schools. The district said he was a “Democracy Prep scholar” who “immediately stood out” within the school’s community.

An educator from the school Barrie once attended told WNBC that the 11-year-old was a “funny, bright, witty, inquisitive and brave” 6th grader.

“He was a magical boy—funny, bright, witty, inquisitive, and brave,” Democracy Prep Public Schools said in its statement, published Saturday. “We honor the life of a beautiful soul, and will remember Alfa as someone who touched our hearts with his infectious joy and exceptional character.”

Related:Body of Missing 7-Year-Old Boy Found 2 Weeks After He Disappeared While Fishing with Family

The district also shared a video of Barrie dancing with his teacher and classmates. They said Barrie’s teachers say their classrooms are “not the same” without him.

“Alfa was someone who was a huge part of his school community—always lending a helping hand to his classmates and teachers, always showing his care and sweetness to his closest friends and family, and always living life with a smile on his face,” the district said alongside the video on Facebook.

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Warren was a student at New Explorations Into Science, Technology and Math, or NEST+M, a public school in Manhattan, according to NBC News.

“He had so many hopes and dreams,” said a staff member who spoke to the outlet anonymously,

“Garrett was a kind, funny and goofy child who loved to make his peers and his friends laugh,” the staffer told the outet, going on to remember him as a student who “would often beg for more science homework.”

“What happened is a true tragedy for our community,” the staff member added.

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Separate GoFundMe campaigns have been started for each family. Both families thanked donors for their support, as they plan funerals for the children.

“Thank you for your love, support, and help during this heartbreaking time,” wrote Guineans Succeeding in America, which started the fundraiser for Barrie’s family.

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