STEVINSON Authorities are looking for a man who was swept into the Merced River at Hagaman Park after he jumped in to save his 3-year-old daughter late Wednesday afternoon.
The little girl was pulled to the shore after her father, Jose Castaneda, 36, her mother, Faviola Ochoa, and at least five bystanders jumped into the river just north of Lander Avenue and River Road near Stevinson, according to Deputy Daryl Allen of the Merced County Sheriff’s Department.
Ochoa, who is pregnant, along with the bystanders all made it out of the water. Ochoa and the girl were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated.
Castaneda, however, did not emerge. Several agencies, including the sheriff’s department and the California Highway Patrol, were searching the area until about 9:30. The search is being called off until 8 a.m. Thursday because of visibility issues.
Allen said the family was in a shallow, almost puddle-like area of the river when the girl somehow got swept in.
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Monica Velez: 209-385-2486