A nine-year-old autistic girl who went missing from a children’s party was found dead yesterday evening at the bottom of a nearby pond in west-central Florida.
Ariyanna Pivachek was found at 6:46pm EDT in about six to eight feet of water after a massive search.
The preliminary cause of death is accidental drowning, according to the Hillsborough County sheriff’s office.
The child was in foster care and had been picked up on Saturday by a family that was considering adopting her, authorities said in a news release.
They took her to attend a party with eight other children, and though eight adults were supervising, the child managed to leave the house at around 3:10pm.
Authorities were notified shortly afterward, and the sheriff’s office launched a search with assistance from 50 deputies, bloodhounds, helicopters and marine divers in the Summerfield subdivision outside Tampa.
The community ‘is dotted with numerous ponds that are often deep and have zero visibility,’ the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
‘During the search, numerous Uniformed Patrol Deputies shed their gun belts and dove in the murky pond waters trying desperately to find the child and assist the divers.’