Timeline: The 18-day search for missing 7-year-old Lucas Rosales in Dayton

The search for a missing 7-year-old boy last seen near Harshman Road and Eastwood MetroPark in Dayton more than two weeks ago has been of high interest in the community.

The body of the boy was recovered from the Great Miami River in Dayton on Saturday, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office confirmed Tuesday.

Multiple police and fire agencies and search organizations have searched hundreds of acres from the Mad and Great Miami rivers in Dayton down to West Carrollton for Lucas over the past two weeks.

Here’s a timeline for the search for Lucas and where the investigation currently stands.

Saturday, April 29

Lucas was reported missing on April 29 after he was last seen around 6:48 p.m. while fishing with his family near Harshman Road and Eastwood MetroPark. The boy’s father and sister, Agustin Rosales and Da’najiah Wakefield, said they warned Lucas to back up from the water and told him it was dangerous. He left them to join other family member so he wouldn’t scare the fish, they said.


After about 15 minutes of searching for Lucas and calling his name, family called police. A water rescue team from the Dayton Fire Department responded, deploying multiple boats in the water and searching the riverbanks. Crews also used thermal imaging devices, underwater and aerial drones and SONAR devices.

Crews searched for about three hours before suspending operations due to darkness, according to the fire department.

Sunday, April 30

The search resumed the next day around 8 a.m., with fire crews checking the Mad River and surrounding bodies of water. More than 100 people from Dayton police and fire departments, Five Rivers MetroParks, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and other volunteer search groups were at the park searching for Lucas.

The search was temporarily suspended again Sunday evening.

Monday, May 1

Search and rescue operations continued the morning of May 1, but the Dayton Fire Department announced that evening the investigation had transitioned to a recovery.

Dayton fire Capt. Brad French said crews had spent approximately 21 hours actively searching for Lucas on and in the water. Teams also searched areas surrounding Harshman Road and Eastwood MetroPark and drained a pond nearby as part of the investigation.

Dayton police said foul play was not suspected and Lucas’ family was cooperating with investigators.

Tuesday, May 2

While active, on-water searches had been suspended, Dayton police and fire, City of Dayton Department of Water and Texas EquuSearch crews continued searching for Lucas.

Teams had searched more than 400 acres of land and water, including parts of the Mad and Great Miami rivers, spanning as far south as West Carrollton. During a scheduled training exercise on Mad River, fire crews scanned the area for Lucas.

The fire department also announced plans on May 2 to temporarily dam the Mad River as water levels started to drop following recent rains.

Lucas’ mother, Amanda Rosales, was with search crews at Eastwood MetroPark. She said wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone.

“You sit here waiting for him to come running out or something or for someone to tell you that they found him,” she said. “When you’re just sitting here for hours upon hour and nobody’s found him yet it’s just torture.”

Thursday, May 4

The City of Dayton Department of Water created a temporary dam on May 4 as water levels decreased in the Mad River. Crews pumped out water from different areas, allowing teams to search places that previously weren’t accessible.

More than 80 people participated in land and water searches downstream the from the dam and used underwater and aerial drones, K-9 crews and other additional resources. The Dayton Fire Department’s Water Rescue team also conducted additional searches on parts of the Great Miami River.

Thursday, May 11

Nearly two weeks after Lucas was last seen Dayton and Beavercreek Twp. fire departments, Dayton police and Buckeye Search and Rescue performed specialty searches near and around Harshman Road and Eastwood MetroPark.

The volunteer group had some dogs specially trained in detecting scents underwater.

Fire crews put a dog and rescuer on a boat to send them down river, while additional crews searched along the riverbank.

Saturday, May 13

Around 5:40 p.m. on May 13, a 911 caller reported a body in the Great Miami River near West Riverview and West Monument avenues.

Dayton police and fire crews responded and recovered the body of an apparent juvenile boy.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is working to confirm the identity and determine the cause and manner of death.

Tuesday, May 16

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office has confirmed that the body found in the Great Miami River is Lucas Rosales.

A visitation was scheduled for Lucas from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday at Woodland Cemetery Mausoleum Chapel, to be followed by a funeral service.

The family is asking for help covering Lucas’ funerary expenses through a tribute fund on the Schlientz & Moore Funeral Home website.