Drowning Victim’s Family Return To Falls Park

On the fourth anniversary, the Wallace's are honoring their daughter's loving legacy

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – It’s been four years since a tragic accident shook Sioux Falls.

A 6-year-old boy fell into the Big Sioux River at Falls Park, and his older sister, 16-year-old Madison Wallace and a bystander, 28-year-old Lyle Eagle Tail died trying to save him.

They drowned after jumping into the rushing water.

Today, the Wallace’s returned to Falls Park to remember their daughter and spread the kindness she always showed.

Carrying a red bag filled with cards and paper cranes, Lara Wallace is making sure her oldest daughter’s loving legacy is living on.

“When she first passed away her classmates and her teachers folded cranes for h

er and we were really overwhelmed with how beautiful, and how thoughtful that gesture was,” says Wallace.

This is the first time the family has returned to Falls Park since the tragic accident in 2013.

“We were standing right over there,” explains Wallace. “Search and rescue people were there. I remember peeking out and seeing people working all night.”

Police found Madison Wallace’s body a day after she jumped in the water to rescue her little brother Garrett.

“As you live with something like that it makes you feel like you’ve gone through the worst and there’s really not much more that could go bad,” says Wallace.

After the accident, the Vermillion family moved to Utah and then recently to St. Joseph, Missouri.

Now, living only about four hours away, Lara says they needed to return.

She says Garrett has been struggling with PTSD this past year from the devastating tragedy.

“We were hoping that he would feel better about the day and that he would just feel the love and strength from everyone around him,” says Wallace. “Maybe facing that, it might be helpful.”

They’re asking anyone who receives a crane or note to pay forward an act of kindness for another person.

“It’s what she would be doing, she would be doing something nice for someone,” says Wallace.

With each paper gift handed out, Madison’s family hopes to lessen the pain of their tremendous loss.

“We pray that she would be with us today and that we would be able to feel her spirit as we go about doing good,” says Wallace.

Crews found Lyle Eagle Tail’s body one hundred yards away from Madison Wallace’s.

It took crews nearly 45 hours to recover his body.

Eagle Tail was a total stranger who jumped in to try and help Garrett.

His family and friends held a vigil last year to honor his memory.

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