Boy's body found in Pennypack Creek

Kim Boyle (second from right) thanked those who showed support and who searched for her son.
Kim Boyle (second from right) thanked those who showed support and who searched for her son. (SANDY BAUERS / Staff)
Posted: July 06, 2013

Thursday morning, the body of a 13-year-old Northeast Philadelphia boy was recovered from Pennypack Creek, three days after he jumped into the rain-swollen waterway and was swept away.

Thursday night, friends and family gathered at the park to support and grieve with the family of Brandon Boyle.

"That's my boy," Kim Boyle told The Inquirer at the candlelight vigil. "I just can't believe this. I want to thank everyone who helped look for my baby."

Looking at the crowd of about 200 people, many of whom did not know her son, Kim Boyle said, "The humanity . . . I'm so overwhelmed. I can't thank everybody enough. Ever."

For three days, rescue workers, including divers, searched for Brandon. Thursday morning, a passerby discovered a body in the creek and called 911.

James Boyle identified his son at the Medical Examiner's Office, according to the boy's great-aunt Judy Williams.

"He was very athletic, very caring and adventurous," Williams said.

Brandon Boyle, who lived near the creek on Arnold Street, was playing with brother Anthony, 11, and two friends Monday when he jumped from a pedestrian bridge into the creek. He did not resurface.

An off-duty police officer heard Anthony's screams and went to help, but could not find Brandon.

Williams said she understood the allure of a full creek to children on a hot summer day, despite the danger and warnings from adults.

"I've lived here 50 years," Williams said, "and we always used to go to the creek. Even though people told us not to go into the creek, we went anyway.

"They jumped off the bridge. They usually get out before they get to the falls, but the swift current took him over the falls."

Brandon was the oldest of six children and a talkative sort, according to his great-aunt, and he drew people to him.

Jonathan Collins, 14, was a good friend of Brandon Boyle's and a classmate. He said he saw Brandon on Sunday, and Brandon asked him to come swimming Monday. He turned him down because he was scared.

"He was a daredevil. Brandon wasn't afraid to do anything," Jonathan said. "He was a person I looked up to and he was always there for me."

Jonathan said Brandon was one of first people he met upon moving to the neighborhood. Their different races didn't matter.

"He didn't notice it," he said. "Everything we had planned to do together, I'm going to have to do with his little brother, Anthony."

Contact Sandy Bauers at 215-854-5147,, or follow on Twitter @sbauers.

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