KITTY HAWK, NC – The body of 4-year-old Wesley Belisle, the Manchester boy who was swept away into the ocean April 25 by a powerful surf while on vacation with his family, was recovered early Monday morning.
According to Kitty Hawk North Carolina Police Chief, the boy’s body was found on Carova Beach at about 7:40 a.m. He posted the following message via the police department’s Facebook page:
As reported by the Outer Banks Voice, on April 29 a gathering of people on the beach broadcast a beachside memorial via social media, during which they read a statement provided by Wesley’s parents, Lindsey and Derek Belisle. His family was able to watch the memorial, which included remembrances and a collection of seashells surrounding a large photo of Wesley.
The statement provided touching details of Wesley’s last days, which included building sandcastles, a visit to the local aquarium and seeing wild horses.
“Our family has been devastated by this terrible incident.
We were very excited for our trip to Kitty Hawk. Wesley was excited to visit the state of North Carolina. We spent some of our days on the beach collecting shells, digging holes in the sand, building sandcastles, and walking on the beach as a family with our dog.
We went to the Lost Colony and saw the fort and hiked around the area. We went to the aquarium in Manteo and Wesley enjoyed every minute of it. He really loved the turtles, sharks, and alligators. We also went on a wild horse tour in Corolla. He loved bouncing on the dirt roads, the dunes, and seeing the wild horses.”
Many in the Sunday gathering wore orange, Wesley’s favorite color, and offered prayers for the family – seeking the recovery of the boy’s body, and for closure.
Following the incident Wednesday, Chief Joel Johnson described it as a “freak accident.” Wesley and his mother were ankle-deep in the water when a “rogue wave” knocked him down, followed by another. The power of the surf, with crashing waves up to six-feet-high, swept the boy away from his mother.
“It was a freak accident,” Johnson said Thursday. “The current was strong, and the waves were four-to-six feet. The ocean is very cold right now. You can’t get in there, even with a wetsuit.”
Coast Guard and local rescue crews conducted a search until dusk, and then suspended the search. The Outer Banks Voice reported that at about the same time, a vivid double rainbow arched across the beach, just south of the area, in Nags Head.