It Could Happen to You…

broken hearted

Our community has been shaken, and a family has been forever altered.

Sunday afternoon, at around 4:30, a 3-year-old little boy named Carter went missing. He was at the river with his family.

Last night, his body was found. He is in the arms of Jesus now. And my heart breaks for this family. I spent those two days crying off and on and praying for a miracle.

Our community banded together in amazing ways. There were hundreds of people volunteering their time searching and doing other things, and thousands of people in surrounding communities and across the web who were lifting up this family and praying for a miracle for them.

But it wasn’t to be.

And even in the midst of the awesome support, there were voices of judgment. Even in the midst of the unthinkable, the horrific grief and agony this family was feeling as they searched desperately for their little boy, there was judgment.

What kind of parents are they?

How could anyone let this happen?

They should have been watching him better.

And I know that more than likely many of those same thoughts are taunting this family right now.  They are questioning every decision they made that day, and blaming themselves.  My view may not be very popular, but I’m just going to say it:

It could happen to any of us.

I don’t care how good of a parent you are, how protective, how cautious.  We have ALL had moments of turning around for a second.  And kids are fast.

I see photos and hear funny stories all the time of toddlers who put things in the toilet, unroll a whole roll of toilet paper, cover their little brother/sister in lipstick, peanut butter, etc.

If your child has ever had the time and opportunity to get into something that they shouldn’t have, then you’ve turned your back long enough for tragedy to strike as well.  Because it only takes a second.

I’m not trying to scare anyone.  I just want us to look at things with honest eyes and not judgment. Because I know you’ve had it happen as well. Every parent has. Period.

Now, I’m  going to put myself out there with a little story (one of many).  No one would call me careless.  I’m known as being the cautious one. In some cases, the overprotective one.  But, once, I was going to the grocery store.  My boys, who at the time were 4 and 2, were playing outside with daddy, so I looked around for a visual before getting in the vehicle.  Both were safely at the garden area with hubby, nowhere near where I was going to be driving.  I knew they were safe with him, so I got in my vehicle. Buckled my seat belt. Took my foot off the brake and put it on the gas ready to back out.  I felt a tug in my spirit to check again.  I put my foot back on the brake, still turned around backwards looking out the back window.  The moment my foot was back on the brake, I saw my 2 year old through the side window, coming around from the back of my van. He had been right there.  This story could easily have had a different ending and I would be that “bad mother.”

I don’t know why some people are spared, and others aren’t. I don’t know why some teens drive too fast and laugh about it the next day, while others are buried.   I don’t know why some people get a story and some people get a tragedy.  

I don’t know exactly what happened in this case.  And I don’t want to speculate about how it did happen, but I know there are many things that could have happened.

The point I want to make is that just because it hasn’t happened to you, doesn’t mean it couldn’t. It doesn’t mean you’re a better mom. It just means that you got another chance, when sometimes people don’t get a second chance.

Please, please pray for them instead of judging them.

Lord, God, I cry out to you on behalf of the Nall family.  I pray that you will be their strength when they have none.  I pray that you will comfort them, and give them the peace that passes all understanding, somehow in the midst of this awful tragedy.  Your word says that you are near to the broken hearted and I pray that they will feel your presence surrounding them in the coming days.  I pray that you will lift them up and give them your strength to get through this time.  

Note: I’m usually lenient when it comes to comments, but if there are any attacking this family, they will be promptly deleted.


  1. Mary Lynn says

    God bless this precious family! I have a three year old daughter and can not even begin to imagine what they are going through. I will certainly be praying for them.

  2. Erica says

    This is so sad but true. There have been so many occasions in my ten years of being a mother that only by the grace of God were we spared something awful. And tragedies like this remind me of how quickly things can happen. I actually have a fear of being around water with small children. Lifting up this family in prayer.

  3. says

    This is so true and I realize it more every day. It could totally happen to anybody. Tragedy is no respecter of persons. This thought should keep us humble and on our knees every day. I saw some of those comments yesterday on FB while reading updates on this precious boy and they made me frustrated and sad. Self-righteous judgement is certainly not what this family needs. Much prayers going up for them!

  4. says

    Isn’t it amazing that something like this would happen when we’ve just talked about it Sunday morning? It’s so true that it could happen to anyone. I remember when Ellen was about 3, learning how to get the back door open. She was halfway down the driveway on her way to see Miss Suzanne when we caught her! I was also reminded of a family who lost a husband and father many years ago, to the water, and his body was never recovered. They never had that closure, but have gone on to live Godly lives and serve HIM. Thank you Crystal, for putting into words what so many of us long for in this situation. Love, not judgement.

    • Crystal says

      I know, Regina! That’s part of the reason I felt led to post about it, because God had it on my heart for a few days already. Yes, love, not judgment. That would be especially sad to never have that closure :(

  5. chelsa says

    Bless you for this post. I have a three year old and I can’t imagine. They can get away from you so quickly! Prayers for this family.

    I heard about this on the radio so we must live fairly close… we are about 30 min. north of Evansville.

  6. Amber N Daniel Shurr says

    What a well said article. praying hard for this family. being a mother of an active toddler myself I know that anything can happen anytime and it can happen to anyone. I love this family to pieces and wish they weren't going through this.

  7. April says

    We are praying for that family and the community. It’s frightening how fast kids can be and how fast something can happen. It could happen to anyone, anywhere. It amazes me how someone so small can move so quickly. My husband jokingly teases me about being overprotective, but he understands why I am.
    As a society, we tend to be quick to judge which is sad. Thank you so much for posting this.

  8. says

    Thank you. It did happen to me and yes I was judged by others, my daughter did die but we were beyond blessed and she came back. She came back in a very crippled body as a non-verbal quadriplegic. Each day I know how blessed I am but in the beginning it was a reminder of what I had failed to do, protect my child. The rudeness and whispering around me hurt at a time in my life that I didn't need to be hurt more. I was the worst person to myself and it was only through God, Jesus, my husband, family and real friends that I made it through. I will add them to my prayers and they will make it, although they will never be the same. They will be a new creation in our Lord, He brings beauty from ashes.

    • Crystal says

      KelLee, I am so sorry for the heartache you endured, and that people were so harsh about it :( You’re so right that when someone is experiencing such a tragedy the last thing they need is to be hurt more :( Praying God will bless your family.

  9. Tammy Kay Rorer Pinson says

    Beautiful. So glad you wrote this. Our youngest grandson took off on my daughter not to long ago she had stepped inside for a few Seconds and when she came out he was gone. He is 2 and we live on 5acres of woods. Was the Scariest time in my life. I found him on the road he had walked thru the woods. We were just lucky and given another chance. No-one should judge. Just Thank God for your child's life.

  10. says

    I once lost track of my 3 year old at a drive-in movie in the dark. The panic I felt during those 4 or 5 minutes still haunts me to this day. I know it was only the grace of God that he turned up safely. May God give peace to those poor parents who are suffering so much right now. What good news that sweet Carter suffers no more in the arms of Jesus.

  11. says

    Amen! Children can move so fast that it’s scary. Even in our own homes, accidents happen every day. No one is to blame. That’s why they’re called accidents. Thanks for sharing this situation on Facebook, Crystal.

  12. says

    Crystal, I worry about tragedy and freak accidents happening to my kids every single day. That’s why when I read the little boy was missing and then found in the river this morning, my heart cried out in horror for his parents and siblings. I can’t even imagine what they’re feeling right now. It’s so close to home for me because I know it could so easily happen to one of my children. I’m the over protective mama who is trying really hard to release the rope a little and give them room to grow. This very moment my children are playing outside (while I’m inside). They’re 8 and almost 5 and are together and we live in a safe neighborhood and I know where they are, but that doesn’t mean something horrible won’t happen. It’s hard being a parent. It’s hard when you live trying to have faith and trust God will protect your family, and then something awful happens. Makes me want to hug my girls even tighter. I don’t know…I’m just heartbroken for that family. Continuing to pray for God’s peace to surround them in the coming days and weeks.

  13. Anonymous says

    Wonderfully written! We have a 3 year old granddaughter and can’t imagine the pain this family is feeling. The entire family is in our prayers.

  14. Michelle says

    This has happened to me before on a crowded beach at a lake, and my son almost drowned. He followed daddy and daddy didn’t see him. When I found him he was under the water and couldn’t touch the bottom. Thank God I got up to go see if he was ok. My story could have been so different, I will be praying for them.

  15. Beverly Guess says

    Well said and so very true….May God hold this family extra close and grace them with all they need as they walk through this dark time.

  16. Carolyn says

    Very well said and true. Two years ago I turned my back on my son at a pool. He was 3 and even though my brother in law said leave his vest on I blew him off because we were leaving. I turned to talk to my sister and hang a towel up and luckily turned around and saw a hat in the pool and his little body on the bottom. I jumped in fully clothed in a pool of at least 100 but no one saw him fall. We were lucky he wasn’t under more than 5 -10 seconds but I often think if my sister had engaged me more in conversation my son could of drown with me only 4 feet away. It can happen to anyone and being that my son has Autism I am extra vigilant with his safety but I turned away and got lucky.

    • Crystal says

      Oh my goodness, Carolyn! What a scary moment! So glad that you were able to get to your son in time…God must have more plans for him.

  17. says

    People can leave cruel comments, especially when they feel “safe” in their anonymity. A couple of months ago a lifelong friend of ours was murdered. I was reading some of the news articles about it on the internet and went ahead to read the comments. Some people were saying horrible things about this wonderful godly man, just because he was a Christian and blaming him for his own murderer.

    You are right, this CAN happen to any of us. We have all had narrow escapes with our children.

    Once the kids and I were outside. My three year old was playing with a ball. I was only a few feet away. Suddenly his ball bounced into the street.

    I saw the car and I knew she couldn’t see my son because of the bush blocking him from her view. So I ran screaming toward him with my arms out. She slammed on her brakes.

    I asked her why she stopped when she couldn’t see my son. She said she heard me scream and saw me running so she stopped. I will never forget that moment.

    • says

      That is supposed to say “blaming him for his own murder.” Sorry.

      My thoughts and prayers are with this family at the loss of their precious little boy!

    • Crystal says

      Yes, you’re right about people saying such horrible things :( SO sorry that happened in the case of your friend who was murdered. Such a sad situation :( Thanks for sharing about your son as well. Those are definitely moments that stick with us.

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