Search is now recovery effort for 6-year-old girl

National News

Police officers close the road outside Tonto Creek near Bar X road in Tonto Basin, Ariz., Nov. 30, 2019. (The Arizona Republic via USA TODAY Network, FILE)

One week after a 6-year-old girl was swept away by floodwaters in an Arizona creek, officials say the search for her is transitioning to a recovery effort.

“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.”

Willa Rawlings, 6, was with her family on Friday when their truck got stuck trying to cross Tonto Creek in Gila County.

Lt. Virgil Dodd talks about the search for three children missing after a vehicle was washed in the Tonto Creek near Bar X road in Tonto Basin, Ariz., Nov. 30, 2019.Lt. Virgil Dodd talks about the search for three children missing after a vehicle was washed in the Tonto Creek near Bar X road in Tonto Basin, Ariz., Nov. 30, 2019.The Arizona Republic via USA TODAY Network, FILE

Willa and two children were swept away in the floodwaters. The other two children, Willa’s brother and cousin, have been found dead.

But the search for Willa is ongoing, with crews using boats, dogs, drones and sonar.

The only sign has been a pair of pants found by a volunteer, Dodd said.

Rain is expected for the area, bringing mud, more water and low visibility, which could hurt the search, Dodd said.

“We’re all hopeful that we can find any kind of signs of where Willa’s at,” Dodd said. “We are working very hard out here to try to find her.”

Authorities search for a missing 6-year-old girl in Tonto Basin, Ariz., Dec. 4, 2019.Authorities search for a missing 6-year-old girl in Tonto Basin, Ariz., Dec. 4, 2019.KNXV

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