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July 27, 2023

Search for 9-month-old baby swept away by Bucks County flood called off

Upper Makefield Township police said they have 'exhausted all means' in trying to find Conrad Sheils

Investigations Missing Children
Conrad Sheils Flood Provided Image/Upper Makefield Township Police Department

The search for 9-month-old Conrad Sheils was called off Wedneday. Sheils was washed away during a flash flood in Upper Makefield Township on July 15.

The active search for Conrad Sheils, the 9-month-old infant that was swept away during a flash flood in Upper Makefield Township on July 15, was called off Wednesday.

Authorities spent nearly two weeks searching for the boy, using drones, boats, dogs, divers, sonar and air assets.

"At this point, we have exhausted all means of attempting to locate Conrad," Upper Makefield police said. "With broken hearts, we regretfully announce that the active search for Conrad has concluded. The family has been made aware of this development, and they would like to express their deepest gratitude to all those involved in the search efforts to bring Conrad home and to all of you for all your outpouring of love, support, and kind words during this extremely difficult time."

Conrad Sheils was one of seven people who died during the flash flood. His body is the only one that has not been found. 

Conrad Sheil's mother, Katie Seley, 32, and his 2-year-old sister, Matilda, also were killed by the flood. The body of Matilda, who went by Mattie, was found Friday in the Delaware River near Philadelphia, more than 30 miles from where she was swept away. 

The family, from Charleston, South Carolina, was in Bucks County visiting relatives and friends. They were traveling to a family barbecue when a wall of water from Houghs Creek hit their vehicle on Route 532 in Upper Makefield. The children's father, Jim Sheils, their 4-year-old brother, and their grandmother, Dahlia Galindez, survived the flood. 

Three people from Newtown Township – Enzo DePiero, 78, Linda DePiero, 74, and Yuko Love, 64 – and Susan Barnhart, 53, of Titusville, New Jersey, also were killed. 

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reopened Route 532 after repairs necessitated by damage from the flood. From Monday, July 31, through Aug. 4, one lane will be closed between Dolington and Wrightstown roads each day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for repairs to a bridge.