Father swept away after saving daughter from river

Sheriff's deputies searching for missing man.

According to the Merced County Sheriff's Office, on Wednesday night, a mother, father, and their three-year-old daughter were swimming in the Merced River at Hagaman Park in Stevinson, when the daughter got swept away.

Deputies say the mother, Faviola Ochoa, and the Father Jose Castaneda, went in after her.

The mother and daughter made it out of the swift river, but Jose is still missing.

Faviola's friends say she is alone, with only family in Mexico. So some who know her well, and others who don't wait with her while crews search for her husband.

"She probably would jump in the water if we weren't here, and go look for him. She wants to know, she is anxious to know what is going on with her husband, or try to find him," says Andrea, a friend.

Merced County Sheriff's Deputies started searching Wednesday night, and again Thursday morning. Deputies say the river was so swift it became too dangerous, even for their dive team.

With warmer weather, deputies are telling people not to go in the water.

"Please go enjoy it someplace else. Go to a public pool, go to a lake. Some place other than a river. The river is so dangerous right now," says Deputy Daryl Allen.

He says they will begin searching again Friday morning. They have access to private property, and the property owners have allowed them to use their boat ramp.

Allen says search and rescue teams will also begin walking the banks of the river this weekend.

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