Funeral preparations begin for 4 Ky. children, crews search for 5th in buggy accident

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Rescue crews resumed the search Friday for an Amish child swept away by a stream after the child’s four siblings were found dead in Bath County, Kentucky State Police said.

The search was temporarily called off Thursday night, but crews returned to the scene Friday morning, state police Trooper Scott Ferrell said. Search participants had problems with high water on Thursday. The stream in which the children drowned empties into the Licking River. Crews in boats have gone as far as the edge of the river, Ferrell said.

As of Friday afternoon, crews still hadn’t found the missing child. They will continue searching until they find the child, Bath County Coroner Andrew Owens said.

The Hochstetler family will hold a private funeral, Owens said, but the Michael R. Gray Funeral Home prepared the bodies of the children, ages 1 to 12, that had been found. Jim Sichko, a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Lexington, said Thursday that he had paid those costs.

Anyone who wants to donate to the Hochstetlers can send donations to the funeral home, and the funeral home will give contributions directly to the family, Owens said. Those interested can contact the funeral home at, or call (606) 784-4134.

The five children and their mother were in a buggy pulled by a horse on Wednesday. The family tried to cross a low-water bridge when the swollen stream caused the horse to lose its footing, police said. The buggy tipped over and the stream swept the family away. The mother was able to get out and call for help, police said, and authorities were notified of the accident about 4:25 p.m. Wednesday.

By 1 a.m. Thursday, four of the children had been found dead, according to police. All four died by drowning, Owens said.

The horse was not injured in the accident, police said.

Bath County Judge-Executive Bobby Rogers said the area where the accident happened is known for flash flooding problems when it rains heavily. He said the area received heavy rain for two or three hours Wednesday.

“I’ve been in regular contact with the family since the accident occurred, and they would like for me to pass on their appreciation and gratefulness for the outpouring of support and prayers they have, and will be receiving in the days ahead,” Rogers said in a Facebook post Thursday.


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