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Father charged with neglect after boys die in apparent NW Indiana drowning

Lake County Sheriff's Department Facebook photo

A man has been charged with neglect after his sons, ages 2 and 4, apparently drowned in the Kankakee River Tuesday in northwest Indiana.

Eric Patillo, 34, was charged with two counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, according to a statement from the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.

Patillo was ordered held without bail at a hearing Thursday, according to court records.

Authorities were called at 5:15 p.m. after 4-year-old Levi Patillo and 2-year-old Evan Patillo were pulled from the river near the boat launch area close to West 241st Street and the Illinois state line near Schneider, Indiana, the sheriff’s department said. The boys both lived in Thayer, Indiana, with their father.

Eric Patillo | Lake County Sheriff’s Department
Eric Patillo | Lake County Sheriff’s Department

Levi was taken to Franciscan Health in Crown Point, Indiana, where he died at 6:49 p.m., according to the sheriff’s department and the Lake County Coroner’s Office. The cause and manner of his death had not yet been determined Wednesday morning.

Evan was taken to Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, where he died at 7:04 p.m., according to the sheriff’s department and the Kankakee County Coroner’s Office. The cause and manner of his death had not yet been determined.

Eric Patillo was arrested by Lake County Police Special Victims Unit detectives and was booked into the Lake County Jail on the neglect charges, the sheriff’s office said. He was tested for alcohol and narcotics, and the results of those tests were pending.

Authorities did not elaborate on the circumstances surrounding the boys’ deaths, but the sheriff’s office was looking to speak with 31-year-old Jesse Brandon Linter “as a witness who may have further information.”

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources was investigating the apparent drownings, while the sheriff’s department was conducting the criminal investigation, authorities said.