44ºF

Hourslong search ends with 2-year-old boy found dead in Smith Mountain Lake

Boy's mom says he was friendliest 2-year-old

MONETA, Va. – What should have been a fun vacation turned tragic for one Texas family at Smith Mountain Lake.

Their young son, 2-year-old August Farley, was found dead in the lake Thursday afternoon, hours after he had been reported missing. 

It was a tough day along Smith Mountain Lake as there was a surge of support from first responders and neighbors and an obvious letdown once the sad news broke.

August's family described the 2-year-old as being full of energy.

Neighbors show support after search ends with 2-year-old found dead

During the search, 10 News learned from the 2-year-old's parents more about the child.

August, the youngest of four children, was an adventurous little boy. 

Nicknamed "Danger Baby," his mother said that he was the friendliest 2-year-old you had ever met.

"He hasn't ever met a stranger. He walks around the grocery story introducing himself to people and asking their names," said Courtney Farley, August's mother, before learning her son had died.

August's father, Austin, his wife and three other children came to Huddleston for their annual family reunion. 

As they were getting ready to head home to Texas on Thursday morning, they couldn't find little August. 

August's short-lived, but impactful life was cut short as divers found his body in the lake, at the end of the dock. 

"We were prepared to go around the clock until we found this young man. And yes, it's been very emotional -- a lot of police officers with tears in their eyes," said Maj. Ricky Gardner, with the Bedford Sheriff's Office. 

What was an annual family tradition for the Farleys is now a tragic trip they'll never forget. 

But through their faith in God, August's parents know their youngest will always be in good hands. 

"So we're just trusting in God that we know he's going to be OK. He's going to come home safe and even if he doesn't God's got us in his hands," said Austin Farley, before August was found dead.

Investigators believe the cause of death was drowning, but the child's body was taken to the medical examiner's office for an official autopsy.