Young child found clinging to drowned mother

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31 August, 2017

Beaumont police say a woman has died after she and her young daughter were swept into a rain-swollen drainage canal while trying to escape their stalled vehicle.

Authorities say the child was holding to her mother and was responsive, but suffering from hypothermia.

A toddler is in stable condition in Texas after she was found clinging to her drowned mother's body in a flooded canal during Tropical Storm Harvey.

"Two Beaumont Police Officers and two Beaumont Fire Rescue divers in a Zodiac boat spotted the mother floating with the small child", an official police statement read.

Sulcer died, but the child "survived, miraculously", officer Carol Riley, a spokeswoman for the Beaumont Police Department, tells PEOPLE.

"The mother did the best she could to keep her child up over the water". The mother pulled over and left the auto with her child when she was swept into the canal and floated half a mile from her vehicle.

The water in the canal was up to the level of the trestle and the rescuers would not have been able to save the child if the girl and the woman had floated under it, she said.

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"But it's heart-wrenching to think of her growing up without her mother".

"They were in the water for quite some time", she said.

Earlier in the week this image of a SWAT officer carrying a mother and her sleeping baby to safety went viral. Sulcer pulled into a parking lot and got trapped, police said, so she grabbed her child, got out of the vehicle and fled.

On Tuesday, only hours after Sulcer was found dead, Riley told PEOPLE the devoted mother "absolutely saved the child's life".

At least 10 people, including those in Beaumont and Jasper County, have been killed by Harvey since Friday, when it made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane. The death toll is expected to rise significantly once floodwaters recede in the coming days and weeks.

The hurricane has since weakened to a tropical storm. The storm has now moved into southwest Louisiana, according to latest reports.


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