2 boys drown in river while father appeared to be under influence of drugs

LAKE VILLAGE, Indiana -- The father of two young boys may have been under the influence of narcotics when his sons drowned in the Kankakee River, according to the Lake County Indiana Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr.

The grandfather of 2-year-old Evan Patillo, of Thayer, Ind., and 4-year-old Levi Patillo, of DeMotte, Ind., shared a photo of his grandsons with ABC7 Eyewitness News Wednesday morning.

Around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources was notified by fishermen along the river near Schnider, Ind., that the father of two children appeared to be overdosing on drugs and that the children were playing in the water at the LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area near the Newton County and Lake County line, Martinez said at a press conference Wednesday.

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Lake County Indiana Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. provided a timeline, suspect photo and brief statement on the deaths of two young boys found in the Kankakee River.

One of the fishermen, who spoke with ABC7 over the phone, said he thought the father came to, so the fisherman believed the boys were being watched. About 15 minutes later, the fisherman came back and saw one of the boys floating in the water.

He and another fisherman rushed in to pull both of the children out. They called 911 and started CPR. The fisherman said Patillo tried to get into the water, but just seemed to be jumping up and down, splashing himself.

Evan was transported to Riverside Hospital in Illinois. Levi was transported to St. Anthony's Hospital in Crown Point, Ind. Both of the boys died.

Eric Patillo, 34, of Thayer, is being held on two probable cause charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, Martinez said. Those charges still need to be filed with the Lake County Prosecutor's Office. If convicted he could face 20 to 40 years behind bars.

Eric Patillo.

Lake County Indiana Sheriff's Department

Lake County Sheriff's deputies are also looking for 31-year-old Jesse Brandon Lintner. They said he is a friend of Patillo's and was at the river with him. He is being considered a witness and deputies want him to come in to be interviewed.

Jesse Brandon Litner.

Lake County Indiana Sheriff's Department

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