Police identify New Jersey man who died rescuing his 3 children from Millstone River

Police say the three children had gone in the water and quickly started to struggle. Rolando Camarillo-Cholula then jumped in to rescue them.

Ali Reid and Lanette Espy

Aug 3, 2023, 10:17 AM

Updated 315 days ago

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Police identified the man from South River who died saving his three children Wednesday afternoon in the Millstone River.
Police say Rolando Camarillo-Cholula, 42, was with his three children - ages 8, 11 and 13 years old - in the area of Canal Road between Coppermine and Old Georgetown roads. They say the three children had gone in the water and quickly started to struggle. Camarillo-Cholula then jumped in to rescue them.
Witnesses say Camarillo-Cholula successfully managed to pull all three children from the shallow water but was not able to maintain his balance. They say he fell back into the water and did not resurface.
Emergency crews searched the water for hours but were not able to rescue him. First responders found Camarillo-Cholula's body around 5:30 p.m.
Several police and EMS agencies were part of the search, including state police. First responders checked out the children at the scene, and authorities say they were not harmed.
News 12 News Jersey spoke with people who live in the area. They say the area is popular for runners, cyclists and people who enjoy fishing - but never swimming.
One woman told News 12 there’s been three drownings at the canal over a 10-year period.
Franklin Township Public Safety Director Quovella Maeweather warned people to remain cautious when dealing with nature.
“You just have to know where you're swimming and never go alone,” Maeweather said. “Nature is uncontrollable, not always consistent like a swimming pool.”
She explained Somerset County has beautiful bodies of water that many people enjoy swimming in. But all waterways can hide dangers like hidden currents, sudden depths and cold shock.
Emergency response crews on scene Wednesday said the current was swift. Maeweather says emergency crews are equipped, trained and prepared for this type of incident.
“But the water that we know today may not be the water that we know the next day or the next year,” she said.
Officials suggest if you're traveling along these particular paths - or something similar in the area - look for postings that provide guidance regarding prohibited areas and activities.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help support Camarillo-Cholula's family.


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