'Kind and Special' 10-Year-Old Boy Drowns in S.D. River While Saving His Little Sister's Life

·2 min read

GoFundMe Ricky Lee Sneve

A 10-year-old boy who family members said was kind and selfless died after he jumped into a South Dakota river after his younger sister, saving her life.

Ricky Lee Sneve leaped into the Big Sioux River on Saturday to help his sibling after she fell in, according to a GoFundMe page organized by his uncle.

His mother Nicole Eufers told the Argus Leader that Ricky was on the river with his dad and siblings when several of them fell into the water.

"Dad jumped in for two of them, and Ricky jumped in to save his sister Chevelle," she said.

The boy was able to push Chevelle safely to shore, but disappeared under the water shortly after, and did not resurface.

Eufers told the Argus Leader that "he saved his sisters' life."

The incident occurred around 7 p.m., and prompted a "large scale rescue operation," the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. A dive team recovered the child's body around 10:30 p.m., authorities said.

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Family members remembered Ricky as a giving young boy, ready and willing to do anything for anyone.

"Ricky Lee was a very intelligent and smart young boy who loved his family and was an adventurous little guy," his uncle wrote on the GoFundMe page, which has so far raised more than $18,000. "He'd do anything to help his mom or anyone at that, without ever being asked. Ricky gave his life trying to do what he knew was best."

Ricky's father, Chad Sneve, also paid tribute to his son.

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"He was generous, kind and special in more ways than I can begin to explain," Sneve told the Argus Leader. "He was my everything, and he touched everyone he encountered."

Eufers, meanwhile, said Ricky was her best friend, and the oldest of her four children. She told the newspaper that he had five siblings, and loved fishing, working on his four-wheeler with his stepdad and helping his stepmom cook and clean.

"He taught me how to love and appreciate life," she said. "He never failed to amaze me."

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