Ricky Lee Sneve died while saving his sister in the Big Sioux River in South Dakota after his siblings were thrust into the water during a family excursion. The 10-year-old boy’s body was later found in the South Dakota river by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and other rescue teams.

According to the June 12 report made around 10:27 p.m., a dive team recovered Ricky Lee Sneve’s body after several hours of search and rescue. The update was made three hours after the department reported that there was “a large scale rescue operation underway near Hudson, SD.” The report claimed that “fire responders from multiple counties and agencies” were searching for the missing boy.

Lincoln County Sheriff's Office confirmed via Facebook that the 10-year-old body of Ricky Lee Sneve was found in the Big Sioux River in South Dakota.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office confirmed via Facebook that the 10-year-old body of Ricky Lee Sneve was found in the Big Sioux River in South Dakota. Photo Credit: Facebook

It wasn’t long before police identified the body of the victim, whom they found in the Big Sioux River late night Saturday. Nicole Eufers, Ricky’s mother, said that her son, his dad, and his siblings had gone to the river for a family excursion.

During the trip, some of the siblings fell into the water, Eufers told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. “Dad jumped in for two of them, and Ricky jumped in to save his sister, Chevelle,” she said. While rescuing his little sister and pushing her to shore, 10-year-old Ricky Lee Sneve went missing in the water and is presumed to have drowned.

“He saved his sister’s life,” Eufers said, admitting that when his father and siblings turned around to see if he was okay, Ricky was nowhere to be found. The boy had fallen into the Big Sioux River, though there is no confirmation as to why the siblings had fallen in, or what caused the incident in the first place.

When asked about his son, Chad Sneve, the boy’s father, explained that his son was just that type of boy, who would do anything for anyone. According to his accounts, “he was generous, kind and special in more ways than I can begin to explain.”

Chad Sneve described his son as smart and dedicated, as he expressed his sorrow at his loss. “He was my everything, and he touched everyone he encountered.”

Nicole Eufers said that Ricky Lee Sneve was her best friend. Ricky Sneve had five siblings in total but was the oldest of Eufers’ four children. The boy loved fishing, as well as “wrenching,” which he fell in love with while working on his stepdad’s four-wheeler. When he wasn’t fishing or working as a 10-year-old mechanic, he’d help his stepmother Jaici with chores.

His mother said that Ricky “taught me how to love and appreciate life. He never failed to amaze me.” The boy will be missed by his large family and across South Dakota.

A GoFundMe was set up by Ricky Lee Sneve’s uncle, Ricky Eufers. The fund has already raised nearly $20,000 by the end of day Monday, with a $25,000 goal to help support Nicole Eufers during the difficult times. Ricky claims that all donations will help support her during the tragic time.

Ricky’s uncle described him as “a very intelligent and smart young boy who loved his family and was an adventurous little guy.” The message below his picture on the GoFundMe page stated that “he’d do anything to help his mom or anyone at that, without ever being asked. Ricky gave his life trying to do what he knew was best.”