Two Men Still Missing in Frigid, Fast-Moving American River

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PLACER COUNTY -- A local family held a memorial along the American River at the place where a man went missing.

"Mateo Rios is 28 years old, and he is an artist and a musician," said Franco Rios.

Rios described his son, Mateo, as the eldest of his two siblings and a beloved cousin of many.

"And going out to the festival at the river to see some bands that he enjoyed listening to. He wanted to see them in person," he told FOX40.

But things took a turn for the worse when witnesses told El Dorado County deputies that Mateo Rios was seen floating in distress down the American River Saturday near Chili Bar River Park.

"He got excited and he’s not always in touch with reality," his father said. "He didn’t consider the consequences maybe of swimming in the river while it's in that condition."

Mateos' father said they are hoping their son's body is located so the family can lay him to rest.

Just three days later, deputies in Placer County said another 28-year-old man went missing after being swept away by rapid waters near the American River confluence near Auburn.

"There’s a really big myth amongst the public with the rivers. A lot of people seem to think it's OK to just swim in the river and they treat it like a swimming pool," said Angela Musallam with the Placer County Sheriff's Office. "A river is absolutely not a swimming pool. A river has a mind of its own."

While the search is still on for both men, Franco Rios said he's hoping no other families will have to suffer his loss.

"The river is very high right now, it’s very cold. The danger is real and it's not to be underestimated," he told FOX40.

Right now, officials are urging people to stay out of the rivers.


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