Two Missing Boys Last Seen Playing Together Found Dead In Different NYC Rivers

The bodies of missing young boys Alfa Barrie, 11, and Garrett Warren, 13, were discovered in two different Manhattan rivers.

May 24, 2023
Garrett Warren, 13, [left]  and Alfa Barrie, 11, [right] were both found dead in separate Manhattan rivers in May 2023.

The bodies of missing young boys Alfa Barrie, 11, and Garrett Warren, 13, were discovered in two different Manhattan rivers.

Photo by: New York Police Department

New York Police Department

The bodies of two boys who went missing between May 12 and May 13 have been identified. Alfa Barrie, 11, and Garrett Warren, 13, were last seen playing together near a river’s edge in Harlem, yet they were found days apart in two different rivers in Manhattan, reported CNN.

The boys didn’t go to the same school but were thought to be friends. Barrie lived in the Bronx and was a student at Democracy Prep charter school in Harlem. Warren lived in Harlem and was a student at New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math, abbreviated NEST+M, in Lower Manhattan.

According to The New York Times, Alfa Barrie was reported missing on May 14, and his body was recovered from the Hudson River on May 20. His cause of death has not yet been released. Garrett Warren was reported missing on May 15, and his body recovered from the Harlem River on May 18. His cause of death has been determined to be accidental drowning.

Police sources told PIX11 News that 13-year-old Garrett was seen pushing 11-year-old Alfa into the Harlem River, then he slipped and subsequently fell into the water himself. It was an apparent game of roughhousing, claimed another boy who was there and witnessed the tragic incident. He did not call authorities right away but later told an adult who called 911.

The boys had been seen on surveillance footage the evening of May 12 around the area of the Harlem River shoreline where there is a broken fence. The third boy is seen in the video with them. When police received 911 calls that evening, the New York Police Department searched the Harlem River but didn’t find anything despite searching all night.

Although the bodies being found in two different rivers seemed odd to some when it was reported, it’s not unusual for people who enter a body of water at the same spot to end up in very different places. Captain Richard Werner, the owner of Safe Boating America, told The New York Times that “many factors” can determine how far currents carry someone. Those include the strength of a current at a specific time, how well a person can swim, whether a person can hold onto an object while in the water, and in which direction a person is carried.

Werner said, “The currents in any river can be hazardous, but the Hudson and the Harlem rivers are unique because both are large bodies of water with high commercial traffic and fast currents.”

GoFundMe pages were started for the families of both Alfa Barrie and Garrett Warren.

“Alfa was someone who was a huge part of his school community — always lending a helping hand to his classmates and teachers, always showing his care and sweetness to his closest friends and family, and always living life with a smile on his face,” the sixth-grader’s school, Democracy Prep, posted about him. They also recalled how he loved to dance and shared a video of the young boy dancing.

Garrett also left a strong impression within his school community at NEST+M. A staff member told NBC News, “Garrett was a kind, funny and goofy child who loved to make his peers and his friends laugh. He would do silly dances just to get a giggle and help people feel better.”

Iesha Sekou, the chief executive and founder of Street Corner Resources, a Harlem-based anti-violence organization, said that the boys’ deaths showed the dangers of playing in the areas around New York City’s rivers, reported The New York Times. She said that Street Corners Resources reached out to NYC leaders to discuss how important it is for the city’s children to have more safe spaces.

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