MESA, AZ - A Mesa family is trying to find purpose in their pain, after their 11-year-old son drowned in a canal near their home.
"We are broken hearted his life ended too soon," said Jori Udall.
11-year-old CJ Udall had Down Syndrome. He recently earned his first merit badge for disability awareness. This past weekend, his family hosted a campout with his Boy Scout troop to celebrate.
CJ was sleeping in a tent next to his dad Friday night. Early Saturday morning, he decided to go explore with his dog Sapphire.
The family didn't know he was missing until it was too late.
"After breakfast we realized CJ and his dog had ventured off," said Jori.
A search began. CJ's older brother Ben spotted their family dog in the canal.
A few hours later, emergency responders pulled CJ's body out of the canal.
"We love him more than life itself," said Jori. "He was our hero."
CJ was also very involved with Special Olympics.
A fund has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank in CJ Udall's name. You can also visit the family's website.