DANBURY, Wis. (WCCO/AP) — The body of a missing 3-year-old girl has been found by divers in a canal near her northwest Wisconsin home.
“It is a tragic situation,” said Burnett County Sheriff Dean Roland. “A precious life has been lost.”
The Burnett County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a missing 3-year-old girl Tuesday at about 6:58 p.m.
Authorities said the girl, identified as Reena Mae Williams, apparently wandered away from her home in Danbury, Wis., which is about 15 miles north of Siren, Wis., and 60 miles south of the Duluth-Superior area.
Williams’ body was found at about 4:50 p.m. Wednesday, about 25 yards from her home in Danbury. An autopsy is planned.
Rhonda Reynolds is the Emergency Management Director for Burnett County. She said there were close to 400 or 500 people helping in the search Wednesday.
Williams’ mother, Jenna Danish, gave a brief statement after her daughter was found.
“I just wanted to thank everybody for helping out, for the generous offers, the time that they gave,” she said. “That’s it. That’s all I have to say.”
A friend of Danish’s said she loved her daughter and that she “would do anything for her daughter.” The friend spoke similarly of Williams’ father.
Police said several neighbors commented on how Williams was seen walking up and down a road a couple of times Tuesday before she went missing. Those comments are all part of an open investigation.
Police said the canal where Williams was found is where the family docks their boat. They can’t say whether the little girl somehow fell in the water or whether there’s foul play involved.
No one is in custody.
Police say they plan to drain the canal to see if they can find anymore evidence.
Meanwhile, the community is trying to cope.
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