4-year-old and 8-year-old siblings who died after falling into Kings River identified

The sheriff's office reminds everyone that all rivers in Fresno County are closed for recreational use.

Jessica Harrington Image
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
4-year-old and 8-year-old siblings who died after falling into Kings River identified
The siblings who died after being swept away in the Kings River over the weekend have been identified.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The two young siblings who were swept away and killed this weekend in the Kings River have now been identified.

The brother and sister have been identified as four-year-old Santiago Barajas and eight-year-old Victoria Barajas.

Officials say the kids, their mom, and an adult friend entered the river at the wheelchair-accessible fishing spot about a mile from Pine Flat Dam.

They were trying to make their way out to a specific rock to climb on when the current carried the kids away.

Crews found Victoria about an hour after they were reported missing. Santiago's body was found on Monday about two miles away from where he was last seen.

On Tuesday, The Fresno County Sheriff's Office released a new public service announcement about the dangers of our local rivers, reminding people how quickly their life can be in danger.

County Supervisor Nathan Magsig spoke out about the incident and need for more signage Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

"Anytime we lose someone tragic like that it needs to be noted and we need to do everything we can to try to prevent those." Magsig said.

Sheriff John Zanoni says deputies are patrolling the rivers in vehicles and looking for anyone in the water.

Those in the water can face a $225 fine.

Multiple signs have been posted, but Zanoni says signs have been stolen and locks on gates have been cut by people trying to get to the water.

They're looking to add more signs, in more languages and bring in bigger, Caltrans-style signs along the road to make sure people know the river is closed.

"We don't want to have to go out there and enforce it. We don't want to have to have to cite people. We want people to know it's closed and we want people to self-regulate and it's for your safety." Zanoni said.

A total of nine citations have been issued so far.

The sheriff recommends people safely take advantage of our local lakes while the rivers are closed.

"We don't want to punish you. This isn't about a punishment. This is about your safety and the safety of our emergency personnel." Zanoni said.

Starting this weekend there will be more places for people to cool off.

Splash parks and pools will be opening in the City of Fresno.

Wild Water Adventure and Island Water Park will also open for the summer.

The Fresno Unified School District has added additional support staff at the school Victoria attended to help students, families and district employees with the loss.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above is from a previous broadcast and will be updated.