BATH, N.H. (AP) – Since the start of summer, Melissa Conley had brought her fiance’s 2-year-old son to a favorite swimming hole at a river near their home.

A friend said she always watched the toddler with “an eagle eye.”

On Sunday night, he was found alone, crying along the banks of the Amonoosuc River. The bodies of Conley, 22, and two boys were found about a half-mile away in shallow water several hours later. They apparently drowned, authorities said.

Relatives and friends of the victims were shocked over the loss and puzzled over what had happened. The bodies were taken to the state medical examiner.

The toddler, Jonathan Carver, was found wearing a swimsuit and a floatation device when he was found about 6 p.m. Sunday by a man walking along the river. Conley, of Bath, Taylor Tetreault, 12, and his brother, Timothy Tetreault, 9, both of Haverhill, were not wearing any life vests when a helicopter spotted them later.

Inner tubes were found in the area, said Bradley Kennedy, the fire chief in Woodsville, a part of Haverhill. Kennedy declined to elaborate.

The boys’ mother shared a two-family house with Conley and her fiance, Michael Carver in the town on the Vermont border. The boys, who lived with their grandparents after their parents divorced, were visiting their mother Sunday. They left that afternoon with Conley and little Jonathan to go swimming, Carver said.

“They shouldn’t have been allowed to go swimming without a life jacket,” said the boys’ grandfather, Paul Tetreault, 68, who owns a barber shop in the Woodsville section of nearby Haverhill. “It’s tragic. It shouldn’t have ever happened.

“They loved life in general, loved fishing,” Tetreault said. “Every time they went fishing they wore a life jacket.”

Conley was staying at home taking care of Jonathan, Carver’s son from a previous relationship.

Carver’s job for an ice cream company often took him back and forth to Maine. The couple had moved from Gorham, Maine, in January.

“She was always very attentive” to Jonathan, Carver said. “She was the nicest person anyone could come into contact with.”

“She had an eagle eye on him all the time,” said Julie Roy, 31, a friend of Conley’s.

Kennedy, who was in charge of the dive team that retrieved the bodies, said there are pockets along the river that are very deep.

“The current was nothing that bothered us,” Kennedy said, adding, “some kids I talked with (Monday) said they had trouble going upstream.”


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