San Diego

Family Identifies Body Pulled from Rainbow Creek, Missing Boy Feared Dead

Crews will resume their search Tuesday with canine support and drones.

The desperate search resumes Tuesday for a little boy swept away by an overflowing creek in Rainbow.

Phillip Campbell, 5, is believed to have been traveling in a car Sunday with best friend, 73-year-old Roland Phillips, when he was carried away in a rain-swollen creek north of San Diego. 

While the water level in Rainbow creek has receded, it remains high enough to make the search difficult.

Family members have come to the sad conclusion that the search for Phillip is a mission of recovery not rescue, and they are now asking for the public's help in finding their boy.

“We know Phillip now is just a shell. He's with Jesus but we would like to bring him home and give him a burial,” Campbell’s Grandmother Lynda Campbell said.

Phillip attends Mike Choate Preschool. He’s described as a curious and happy 5 year old, whose best friend, Roland Phillips, lived with Campbell's legal guardian and his grandmother.

“Phillip loved Roland, he called him Pappy. He followed him everywhere, everywhere” Campbell said.

So it was, Sunday afternoon, Roland and Phillip were off on another adventure. They were driving to Homeland in Riverside County to a see a car for sale.

Investigators don't yet have all the facts, but it appears to the family that flood waters spilling onto Fifth Street swept Roland, Phillip , and their Toyota Camry into Rainbow Creek.

Family friend Nancy Martinez identified the car for sheriff's deputies and says it was Roland's body pulled from creek Monday.

“He was just a good person to everyone. If somebody needed help he was there,” Martinez said.

A witness who lives near the creek tells NBC7 she saw Campbell, clinging to a tree limb in this fast-moving creek before disappearing downstream.

A witness said that she say a boy clinging to a log before being swept down the stream. NBC 7’s Bridget Naso has the latest details on the search and recovery effort.

"Pray for them. Try to help find him,” Martinez said.

Receding waters reveal the harsh truth of their mysterious disappearance. What is left is only the desire for closure.

“To pray for us, help find Phillip to find Phillip,” Campbell said.

Swift water rescue crews are concentrating their efforts 2 to 3 miles from the area where Roland and the Toyota Camry were extracted, where it's believed the car first entered the creek.

This is a creek that flows all the way to the ocean.

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