The father of a 9-year old boy who died in Rushing River Provincial Park said his son Kyree Bruneau-Thomas slipped on a rock and drowned this weekend.

Trevor Thomas said he was cooking supper Saturday night when his son disappeared. When he called Kyree to come and eat, he could not be found.

Hours later, after a search by Ontario Provincial Police and park staff, Kyree was found dead.

Kyree was a grade four student at Cecil Rhodes in Winnipeg.

Thomas and Kyree's mother, Justine Bruneau are heartbroken. They said their son was a very affectionate boy, who always complimented them and loved giving hugs and kisses.

Bruneau said he loved everything about being outside.

“Bugs, climbing, everything, making things, hockey, football, scouter, out with friends,” she said.

His parents said he loved being in front of the camera and had a unique energy.

“He was going to be something special,” Thomas said.

“Keep your kids close. I’ve been telling people that every day that have been coming to the house, supporting us, being with us, no matter what it is. Doesn’t have to be this situation, any situation,” Bruneau said.

Thomas said he took his son camping to enjoy a boy’s weekend.

He said the family is thankful to everyone who helped search for Kyree.

Ontario Provincial Police said an autopsy confirmed the cause of death was drowning and foul play is not suspected.

The family said funeral services will be held at Cropo Friday. Following the funeral, a celebration of life for Kyree will be held at the Freight House.


Rushing River Provincial Park is reviewing procedures following the death of a nine-year-old boy over the long weekend.

“Ontario Parks takes the safety of its visitors very seriously, and we always review our procedures following a fatality,” Matt Yeo, park superintendent at Rushing River Provincial ParkTuesday, said Tuesday.

Yeo said based on the review, emergency plans could be updated at the park, which is located about 30 kilometres east of Kenora, Ont.

READ MORE: Boy found dead in Rushing River Provincial Park

“Once we were notified that the boy was missing, as per our emergency plan, the park staff initiated a cursory search before notifying the OPP,” Yeo said.

Yeo said a cursory search is a brief search of the campground, the playgrounds, and usual spots children would go in the park.

Yeo said that initial search took about 20 to 30 minutes. After that, police were called, Yeo said.

The OPP said the boy went missing around 9:45 p.m. Saturday, and was found dead around 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Police taped off a ridge next to a campground near Dogtooth Lake.

Yeo said there has not been a fatality in the park over the past 15 years.

“Our thoughts are with the family in light of the tragic event,” said Yeo.

In 2014, a Winnipeg man said he was saved from drowning at the park thanks to the help of three strangers.

READ MORE: Winnipeg man credits 3 strangers with saving his life after nearly drowning

Yeo said there was a support program in place for staff if they needed it, and thanks everyone with the OPP and park staff who helped search for the boy.