MERCEDES — Little Victoria Ramirez was enjoying her time near the mighty sound of the waterfall of the Arroyo Colorado just as many children have over the years.

Victoria, 5, was washing her hands in the water off the river bank before she fell in.

An afternoon enjoying the outdoors fishing near her home with her family turned into a nightmare.

Her father Gregorio Ramirez, 31, of Mercedes drowned Sunday in the arroyo trying to save his daughter and his wife, who also was in the water looking for Victoria.

“It was the first time they had gone fishing there,” said Jesus Isidro Ramirez, Gregorio’s brother. “I hope the Lord will bless his (Gregorio’s) family.”

Jesus, 36, also a Mercedes resident, said he missed his brother very much as he cried while talking about Gregorio over the phone yesterday.

“The family is hurting very much,” Jesus said.

At approximately 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Mercedes police responded to an emergency call at the waterfall located at the end of South Florida Street.

When police arrived at the scene, they found three children crying at the edge of the river bank.

“They managed to get a rope from a neighboring citizen,” Police Chief Olga Maldonado said. “Officers went in and pulled the 5-year-old female out and managed to pull the mother out.”

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