Even in this time of intense grief, Mary Ellen has been thinking of others, writing an email to let her friends know more about Ryan's last moments. Although she wrote that I should feel free to share it, her words seemed too personal to post on a blog, and I have been sitting at my computer, unsure of what she would want me to do.
I decided to post a portion of her message because Ryan's story should be told accurately in his mother's own words. As you will see, the poor child never "went missing" or "wandered off," even though, for a long and torturous night, he could not be found.
Mary Ellen writes:
"I know it’s been difficult for everyone, getting information piecemeal. Here are some details, please feel free to share them or any part of this email.
"Ryan was playing in a little stream a few yard from the campsite. His father and the others knew where he was and he was in view. Other kids were near him but after a bit they spread out. They were all very excited to be in the campsite, they had only just arrived. When they called the kids for prayers Ryan didn’t come and after a very short time the rangers were called and then the state police and fire marshals. They searched with dogs (my poor Ryan so terrified of them). Dave called me at 11:30pm and then every hour until our dear friend, who was scheduled to go up there Sat with his four boys, drove me up at 4:30am. I arrived there at about 8:00 and they were searching with a helicopter and infrared radar as well as divers. He was found at about 10:30. In the five minutes between the other kids being there and his being called Ryan had a grand mal seizure and slipped into the stream, his body was found a few feet away in a drain in a culvert. It is believed the seizure is what killed him although we don’t have confirmation of that yet. When Dave and I saw him, he looked very peaceful and that was of great comfort to us.
"Ryan received last rites at the campsite, two priests against all odds showed up in the middle of the woods at exactly the right time to administer the sacrament. Only Ryan could have arranged that."
May God lift up the Barrett family during this terrible time of grief.