Search goes on for missing girl in Ariz.
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. Tonto Basin is about 90 miles northeast of downtown Phoenix.
Two 5-year-olds, Colby and Austin Rawlings, were found dead Saturday.
Lacey and Daniel Rawlings were in the truck with the children when friends and relatives say they tried to cross the creek at a crossing that was closed earlier that day because of 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 volunteers before search efforts began Sunday.
“I cannot thank you enough,” he said. “This is about the only light in this dark situation.”
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 were rescued when the vehicle was overcome by water in the creek, according to the Gila County Sheriff ’s Office.