NEW ORLEANS — It’s been four days since 15-year-old Kevin Poole Jr. was last seen alive.
“It feels surreal. It feels like I’m in a dream or nightmare. It doesn’t feel real at all,” said his mother, Nikki Azeez.
She and his aunt, Vee Osbey, spent Wednesday morning out on the levee near the Crescent City Connection, to help with the search themselves.
“These kids need to be found. The family needs closure. We really need closure. It hurts. As days go by the pain will never ever go away,” said Osbey.
Family members say Kevin was outside with his 5-year-old brother, and their two friends; 14-year-old Brandy Wilson and her 8-year old-sister Ally Wilson.
They were playing along the river when Brandy slipped into the water. Ally and Kevin went after her to help but were swept under the water as well.
“We need closure because as an adult I’m able to wrap my head around it, but his siblings are having a hard time because they’re still saying ‘where’s my brother,’ and I don’t have any answers for them,” said Azeez.
She said it was her 5-year-old son who ran to her for help.
“His youngest brother who went to get help to find him is Raheem who was also there at the time he saw his brother go in the water. He said, 'Mama, he went into the Ocean.' That’s how he describes it. He was able to tell the dive team where they were at because he was with them,” said Azeez.
Local dive teams and volunteers have shown up to help the families, help with the search, and help spread awareness about the dangers that can come with enjoying the Mississippi River. The family says they would like to see more outdoor alternatives for the kids to play with.
“I would like for them to have more splash pads, more areas at playgrounds. It doesn’t have to be a swimming pool. If we can have more of those and more playgrounds to keep them away from areas like this,” said Azeez.
Kevin’s mother is now pleading with people to be on alert and help her on this search.
“It’s going to take more manpower. One group can’t do it alone. It’s going to take more help.”
The Cajun Navy along with other local agencies and volunteers will pick up the search Thursday morning along the levee at 9 a.m.
Because the currents are so strong, it’s added more difficulty to this search, but the parents say they will keep at it until they find their kids.