St. Paul girl drowns in St. Croix River

Associated Press

HUDSON, Wis. -- A St. Paul girl drowned while celebrating her 10th birthday with family members on an island in the St. Croix River, authorities said.

Kerry Gonzales was chasing a soccer ball on a sandbar Sunday when the ball went into deep water and she drowned trying to retrieve the ball, said Kristopher Stewart, a St. Croix County sheriff's deputy.

Kerry "swam a little ways, realized she couldn't obtain the ball, attempted to make it back to shore, but ... she wasn't able to make it back to shore," Stewart said. She was not wearing a life jacket.

About a dozen family members tried unsuccessfully to rescue Kerry as she struggled in the water. "As a whole, they had limited swimming ability," Stewart said. Kerry's mother, Ana Melgar, nearly drowned trying to get to her and had to be helped out of the water, he said.


Kerry then disappeared and was underwater for more than 15 minutes before a diver found her body in 9 feet of water about 60 feet from shore. She was pronounced dead at a Hudson hospital.

Stewart said Kerry's father, Angel Melgar, had shuttled about 30 family members to the island by boat.

Six people have drowned in the St. Croix River since April, authorities said.

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