Boy, 9, dies after falling into Erie Basin behind Red Hook IKEA

Police sources say the missing 9-year-old boy had autism and was non-verbal.

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Thursday, August 17, 2023
Child dies after falling into water behind Brooklyn IKEA
A 9-year-old boy has died after he fell into the water behind a Brooklyn IKEA store. Reporter Anthony Carlo has more.

RED HOOK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A family is grieving after a 9-year-old boy died when he fell into the water behind a Brooklyn IKEA store on Wednesday night.

Officials say this appears to be a tragic accident. Hasebul Nehan was last seen on surveillance video toward the water just behind the store in Red Hook.

Police say Nehan, who is nonverbal and has autism, went missing at 8:58 p.m., just two minutes before the IKEA closed for the day.

The young boy had been inside the store with his family and was playing with his siblings when his mother lost track of him.

It prompted a desperate search only to end in the painful discovery of his body hours later.

Of all the inconsolable feelings his grief-stricken mother was facing Thursday, the worst was the guilt.

"I took him over there, why did I take him over there," his mother Abida Sultana said.

After she lost sight of her son, drones, divers, K9s, and officers were all part of the hours-long search that would go on to end in tragedy.

They were initially able to find the orange crocs he was wearing. The search came to an end three hours after Nehan went missing, just after midnight.

Authorities say he was found unresponsive on the water's edge of the Erie Basin. He was taken to the hospital and was pronounced dead shortly after. It's believed that he drowned.

The boy's family said he loved the water and the ocean, which may explain why he ran straight for the water.

"I used to have so much fun with him even though he was autistic, I loved him, I'll miss him," his brother Abibul Dehan said.

The family was interviewed by police but no criminality is suspected.

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