Fundraiser held for boy killed in Arizona flood

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PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) -- A Mayer-area couple say they're still coming to grips with the loss of their 6-year-old son, who was killed by northern Arizona floodwaters last month.

The body of Jacob Baudek was recovered from the Agua Fria River on Jan. 23, almost two days after rising waters swept him away as his family tried to take him to a hospital in their pickup truck.

David and Katrina Baudek and their 12-year-old daughter Dezera attended a fundraiser Sunday organized by a Prescott bar, which planned to give 25 percent of the proceeds to a fund for the family.

The Baudeks plan to donate the money to buy swift-water rescue equipment for the Mayer Fire Department and to send kids to camp. His family said Jacob loved the outdoors and liked to ride his bike and fish and did not spend time on video games.

About 45 people attended the fundraiser. Many said they would do anything to help the family.

"This community is awesome," David Baudek said. "It's too bad this is what brought us together."

Emotions still are raw for Baudek and his wife as they recall the night of Jan. 21. They were trying to get ailing Jacob to a hospital and were driving on a normally passable dirt road.

Tributaries of the Agua Fria River had already flooded local roads in Mayer, some 70 miles north of Phoenix. The Baudeks crossed one road, then decided travel was too dangerous and turned back. They made it 40 feet across a 50-foot wash when the fast-moving water caught their truck and spun it around.

The couple called 911 as floodwaters pushed their vehicle downstream.

"It was pitch black. We were just freezing and numb," Katrina Baudek said.

David Baudek said the truck's back window popped open, saving them. He climbed out first, then pulled the two children to the back of the pickup. His wife got out last but was washed 200 yards downstream before pulling herself onto the bank.

Katrina Baudek ran back toward the family home and got rope. Someone who saw what was happening put their headlights on the scene.

Her husband held onto Jacob and Dezera in the back of the truck as rushing water and debris swirled around them.

"I could hear them calling me," she said.

The violent winter storm grounded rescue helicopters, and it took more than an hour for firefighters to locate the truck.

"Nobody could get to us," David Baudek. "We were finally swept over."

He managed to throw Dezera into some bushes and turned for Jacob, but his son was gone. David Baudek said he clutched a tree that "reached out and grabbed me."

Authorities found Jacob's blue-and-green pajamas and backpack a day before his body was recovered.

"It's been pretty terrible," David Baudek said. "It's getting better every day. I don't cry near as much. My wife and daughter have nightmares."


Information from: The Daily Courier,

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