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Family of 2-year-old drowning victim speaks out

By Benjamin Wood and Jennifer Stagg | Posted - May 31, 2011 at 9:55 p.m.

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WOODLAND HILLS — The family of Vince Larsen held a press conference Tuesday to "correct misinformation" and express thanks to law enforcement and medical personnel for their efforts to save the life of the 2-year-old boy, who died Sunday after falling into Starvation Creek.

Larsen's uncle Ryan Gallegos, who also pulled the boy from the river, addressed members of the media and detailed the events regarding Larsen's death.

Ryan Gallegos found his nephew Vince Larsen floating in the water. He performed CPR, but the boy later died.
Ryan Gallegos found his nephew Vince Larsen floating in the water. He performed CPR, but the boy later died.

"It was terrible," Gallegos said. "We responded really quickly. Probably no more than 15 minutes after he actually fell in the river, I had pulled him out."

Larsen was camping with his family in Starvation Canyon when the family noticed the boy was missing. Gallegos said he assumed the worst case scenario would be that the boy had fallen into the river, and he immediately drove down the canyon to a culvert and began working his way back up the current.

Gallegos said the current was strong enough to carry an adult and he made his way up the bank, trying to stay out of the water as much as possible.

Vince Larsen
Vince Larsen

"I, myself, located him — not multiple people, as some people had said," Gallegos said. "When I got him I took him to the road and I, myself, began CPR."

Gallegos said that he flagged down a passing truck, and the driver helped him perform CPR until they got the boy to law enforcement officials. The child was then flown to a hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries.

"Knowing the nature of 2-year-olds, you can be doing your very best and still have things happen," said Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon.

"We'd like to thank the couple that assisted me in the white pickup for every thing they did," Gallegos said. "Thank everyone out there for the love and support they've given us. We'd like to thank the numerous Utah County law enforcement officers, as well as all of the medical staff for all they have done."

He said there weren't words to express how the family is feeling, and that Vince will be remembered for being a loving and compassionate boy.

"He was, he was very outgoing," Gallegos said. "He was adorable. He was the sweetest little boy."

Gallegos said the boy's parents chose to have his organs donated to help other children in need. An account* in the boy's name has also been set up through Zions Bank to assist the family with funeral expenses.

A viewing will be held Friday at 9:30 a.m. in Payson, followed by funeral services.


Written by Benjamin Wood with contributions from Jennifer Stagg.


* has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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