Canal drowning; Family remembers 11 year-old victim - KMSP-TV

Canal drowning: Family remembers 11 year-old victim

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C.J. Udall C.J. Udall
PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

A valley family remembers their 11 year-old son who drowned in a valley canal over the weekend.

The parents of C.J. Udall say he got out of the backyard by finding a small hole in their backyard fence.

They believe that C.J.'s dog fell in the canal, and he jumped in to save his dog's life.

C.J. is being remembered as a hero. More than a dozen Boy Scouts, some who helped search for their friend, stood by his mother's side to show their support.

"He is a gift to our family, we are broken hearted that his life ended too soon," said C.J.'s mother, Jori Udall.

Udall bravely talked about her son C.J. just two days after the drowning. She shared stories about him and thanked first responders who helped search for her son.

"We are grateful to all of them who made this nightmare bearable," she said.

Udall said her son C.J. had Down Syndrome. He drowned Saturday during a Boy Scout camp-out at their home.

Friday night, C.J. and the other scouts slept in sleeping bags and tents in the backyard.

Sometime after breakfast Saturday, C.J. and his dog Sapphire disappeared.

"It was our 13-year-old Eagle Scout son who found them, he heard the dog Sapphire, and he began jumping fences... he found Sapphire in the canal but he could not find C.J.," she said.

Sapphire survived but hours later search crews found C.J.'s body in the canal.

"We will find meaning in our suffering," she said.

C.J. was a student at Gateway Point Elementary School. He was a decorated Boy Scout and took part in the Special Olympics.

"We will continue to honor our little warrior," she said.

The funeral for C.J. is planned for this coming Saturday.

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