NEW YORK — Two young brothers swept from the arms of their mother by the violent sea at the height of Hurricane Sandy were found dead in a marsh Thursday.
Two-year-old Brandon and 4-year-old Connor Moore, were sucked into swirling floodwaters as their mother's SUV stalled Monday in the deluge on Staten Island, one of the areas hardest hit by the storm. The boys were two of Staten Island's 19 victims.
"Terrible, absolutely terrible," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said as he announced that the bodies had been discovered.
"It just compounds all the tragic aspects of this horrific event."
Police said Glenda Moore, 39, had driven from her flooded home toward her sister's house in Brooklyn when the vehicle became stuck about 6:10 p.m. Monday, forcing her to confront the rising water and the relentless cadence of pounding waves as she clung to her boys' arms.
The storm thwarted her getaway, first by stalling the engine, the police said.
Moore managed to step out of the SUV, taking 2-year-old Brendan in her arms and leading 4-year-old Connor by the hand. But a wave slammed into them, driving her and Brendan into the marsh and breaking her hold on Connor's hand. Another wave carried him away moments later.
Kelly said the mother "was totally, completely distraught. She started looking for them herself, asking people to help her look."
Moore went door-to-door looking in vain for help in a neighborhood that was presumably largely abandoned.
Police said she flagged down an emergency vehicle about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and authorities began their search. Police said she told them she tried to find help and eventually gave up, spending the night trying to shield herself from the storm on the front porch of an empty home.
The search continued in the days that followed, with numerous emergency personnel joining the march through Staten Island marshland. The bodies were found about 100 feet from each other in cattails at the end of a narrow dead end street.