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US Search continues for missing 6-year-old swept away at Arizona creek

09:15  02 december  2019
09:15  02 december  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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The search continues for Willa Rawlings, a six - year old girl who remains missing after a vehicle had been swept away while attempting to cross the swollen Tonto Creek on Friday. Nine members of an Arizona family had come together for a Thanksgiving celebration, The Associated Press reported.

Authorities are resuming the search for a 6 - year - old Arizona girl who was among three children swept away in raging creek waters. Gila County Sheriff’s Lt.

TONTO BASIN, Ariz. – More than a hundred community members from Pinetop, Arizona, gathered in Tonto Basin  on Sunday morning to search for a missing 6-year-old girl swept away in a flash flood. 

Willa Rawlings was one of three children left inside a truck that was inundated by surging water after relatives attempted to drive through a crossing at Tonto Creek.

Two 5-year-olds, Colby and Austin Rawlings, were found dead Saturday.

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The search continues for Willa Rawlings, a six - year old girl who remains missing after a vehicle had been swept away while attempting to cross the swollen Tonto Creek on Friday. Nine members of an Arizona family had come together for a Thanksgiving celebration, The Associated Press reported.

Authorities continue to search for 6 - year - old Willa Rawlings, who went missing near the Tonto National Forest Friday afternoon after her family's vehicle was swept away Dodd said the family was from various parts of Arizona and were believed to be in the area visiting relatives for Thanksgiving.

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Lacey and Daniel Rawlings were in the truck with the kids when friends and relatives say they tried to cross the creek at a crossing that was closed earlier that day due to flooding caused by a major winter storm.

Lacey and Daniel Rawlings are the parents of Willa and Colby. Austin, their niece, is the daughter of Daniel's brother, Jay Rawlings.

Nathan Sherwood, Lacey's brother, flew in from Houston on Friday to help with the search efforts. He cried as he spoke to the crowd of more than a hundred volunteers before search efforts began Sunday.

"I cannot thank you enough,"  he said. "This is about the only light in this dark situation."

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A shoe belonging to a missing 6 - year - old girl, who was the subject of a massive search involving helicopters, drones, boats, dogs and an army of volunteers, was found Sunday Volunteers, working in small groups searched through the muddy brush, heading toward the creek looking for the girl, who

Search Continues for Missing Girl in Arizona After Powerful Storm - Продолжительность: 1:05 VOA News Family of kids swept away in creek have deep Arizona roots - Продолжительность: 2:10 TRAGEDY IN TONTO BASIN: Search continues for missing 6 - year - old girl - Продолжительность

Volunteers trudged in small groups through the muddy brush, toward the creek, to search for the missing girl, who was last seen wearing jeans and a purple jacket.

Among the volunteers was David Merrill, who came with a group of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He said he would have come to help regardless, as he has known the Rawlings for more than 30 years.

a close up of a rock next to a body of water: A truck passes through part of Tonto Creek in Tonto Basin, Arizona on Dec. 1, 2019. © Patrick Breen/The Republic A truck passes through part of Tonto Creek in Tonto Basin, Arizona on Dec. 1, 2019. "The Rawlings family are a fixture," Merrill said. "They're the salt of the earth and they have done so much. Little League, school ... volunteers for football ... whatever it took, they've been in the middle of it."

Merrill became emotional as he spoke about the community's efforts to help in the search.

"The whole community's rallied around them to show their love and support during this tragedy," he said.

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Willa Rawlings disappeared when her family’s vehicle was swept away in a flood while the bodies of her brother and cousin have been found.

Authorities also continued to search Sunday for the 6-year-old girl, the only one of nine family members unaccounted for on Sunday.

The search included multiple police agencies with aircraft, kayakers, ATVs and rescue dogs working along the creek.

On Friday afternoon, six members of the Rawlings family – two adults and four children – were rescued when the vehicle was overcome by water in the creek, according to the Gila County Sheriff's Office. The three young children had stayed in the vehicle.

The Rawlings family members are from various areas of Arizona and were in the area visiting relatives for the Thanksgiving holiday, according to Lt. Virgil Dodd of the Gila County Sheriff's Office.

Search is now recovery effort for 6-year-old girl swept away in creek

  Search is now recovery effort for 6-year-old girl swept away in creek Willa Rawlings was swept away in Tonto Creek in Gila County, Arizona, on Friday."Every soul that's out here that's searching for this little girl is staying strong, and we're here for the family," Gila County Sheriff Patrol Lt. Virgil Dodd told reporters Wednesday. "We hope to bring her home soon to the family to give them peace and closure.

Search for six - year - old girl who was swept away in floodwaters when her family's truck became stuck in a creek becomes a recovery mission after her brother and cousin were found dead. Willa Rawlings, six, has been missing since Friday when her family's truck tried to cross a flooded Tonto Creek in

TRAGEDY IN TONTO BASIN: Search continues for missing 6 - year - old girl Search continues for child swept away by floodwaters in Tonto Basin - Продолжительность: 5:08 azfamily Three children reported missing after flooding in Tonto Basin area - Продолжительность: 2:53 ABC15 Arizona 1

Colby's body was found at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, about 3 miles downstream from where the vehicle became stuck, according to sheriff's officials. Austin's body was found at 11:14 a.m.

A GoFundMe page was established for "the Rawlings Family Accident" on Saturday afternoon. More than $10,000 was raised by Sunday morning.

The Gila County Sheriff's Office said it received a report just after 4 p.m. Friday of a vehicle stuck in the creek near the closed crossing.

There were barricades across the road at the time, and signs that say do not cross when flooded, Dodd said.

One adult and four other children were found stranded on an island and rescued from the area via helicopters, according to Gila County Sheriff's Office. Another adult was rescued from the shore.

Rescue personnel located the vehicle, described as a military-style truck, in the creek Friday night about 600 to 1,000 yards away from the crossing. But they were not able to remove it until Saturday, Dodd said. No one was found inside.

It was unclear how the children got from the vehicle into the creek.

Tonto Basin is about 90 miles northeast of downtown Phoenix.

Follow Molly Duerig and Robert Anglen on Twitter: @mollyduerig and @robertanglen

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Search continues for missing 6-year-old swept away at Arizona creek

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