The community is rallying around a Keyes family whose 11-year-old son drowned during a Modesto Reservoir camp outing with $9,820 raised for his burial through GoFundMe as of Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities dragged the lake east of Waterford and located the body of Martin “Junior” Castillo Jr. on Saturday morning, a day after he slipped into the water and disappeared.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department was called at 11:49 a.m. Friday about the mishap leading to the boy’s drowning. Callers to 911 said four children, aged 10 to 12, had jumped out of a paddle boat and were struggling to swim back to shore with one boy unable to make it back. None of the children were wearing floatation vests.
Deputies learned that the children had been in the paddle boat anchored to the shore in Area F of Modesto Reservoir when one of the children untied the rope to go fishing in the cove. The wind and water current swept the boat toward the middle of the reservoir. Family members spotted the children and told them to come back, prompting them to jump off the boat and into the water where they began struggling to stay afloat. The reservoir’s water temperature was an estimated 67 degrees. Relatives used an inflatable air mattress to get to the children and were able to save three of them.
Sheriff’s office reservoir deputies and Modesto Fire used boats to begin their search for Junior and were joined by the Sheriff’s Department helicopter in an aerial search of the water.
Martin had just graduated sixth grade from Franklin Elementary School in Modesto. The straight-A student was planning to continue attending Modesto schools since the family had moved from there to Keyes last year. He played basketball and football and enjoyed the arts, including the violin, singing and dancing. Junior also had participated in the Junior Scientist and Future Cities competition.
He leaves behind his parents, Martin Castillo Sr. and Robyn Johnson Castillo of Keyes; and his siblings, Kelis, 6, and Carmello, 1.
The public may contribute to the burial fund by visiting www.gofundme.com/2b8ua24