Nine-Year-Old Drowning Victim at Buffalo River State Park Identified

The victim was Grace Bettie, a student at Ellen Hopkins Elementary School in Moorhead

GLYNDON, Minn. — A nine–year–old child drowned in the swimming area at Buffalo River State Park Wednesday afternoon.

While participating in the Moorhead Police Summer Youth Program, Grace Bettie, an Ellen Hopkins Elementary student, passed away after she was found unconscious in the pond at Buffalo River State Park near Glyndon.

When deputies arrived, first responders were performing CPR, but they were unable to revive her

The Minnesota DNR is keeping the pool closed until the staff is emotionally ready to return to work.

“We’re giving them some opportunities to recuperate from those events, and the pond will be reopened when it is safe to reopen with the staff in levels that we need to operate the pond safely,” said Melody Webb, the Assistant Manager of Parks and Trails for the Northwest Region of the Minnesota DNR.

Throughout the day, several visitors, including a youth mission group from Minneapolis, came to park to enjoy a swim at the park.

Although they were initially disappointed to learn the pool was closed, they understood the magnitude of the situation.

“It’s really sad that someone drowned and I don’t know too much about it but I just hope their families are okay,” said Henry Williamson, one of the students from the mission trip who came to the park Thursday.

Most of the people that came to Buffalo River State Park found out that the pool was closed online, but those who did not check out the website and went into the water were asked to leave by the Minnesota DNR.

For parents visiting the park, hearing about Bettie’s passing served as a reminder to make sure their kids are out of harm’s way in the water.

“I’ve got to keep an eye on my kids at all times, no matter if there are lifeguards on duty or not, I need to make sure these kids are safe. Whether there’s an inadequate amount of lifeguards or not, always keep an eye on the kids,” said Levi Duddem, a parent from West Fargo.

Ellen Hopkins Elementary and The City of Moorhead will offer grief counseling services for students and youth program mentors affected by the tragedy.

The family of the victim has requested privacy as they grieve.

Categories: Community, Local News, Minnesota News