Savannah Hauser-September 2010

savannah hauser


The body of an autistic child who went missing from a Barling park Saturday afternoon was found Saturday night in a pond near the park.

The body of 3-year-old Savannah Hauser was recovered around 9:10 p.m. Saturday from a pond about 30 yards from the spot where she disappeared in a Springhill Park campsite.

“(In a situation like this) we always expect to find the kid sleeping or curled up,” said Chuck Dale, member of Crawford County Search & Rescue. “We never want a search to end up like this.”

The girl went missing after she and her family arrived at a campsite at the park.

Her parents turned their attention away from her briefly to get ice cream out of their vehicle, and when they turned back around, they found that the 3-year-old was missing, Barling Police Chief Tracy Powell said.

About 70 people, including members of law enforcement and emergency response agencies from Sebastian and Crawford counties, formed a search party and scoured the park Saturday.

Authorities were informed by Savannah’s family that she was autistic and that she was drawn to water.

Crawford County Search & Rescue took a boat into the pond and used a sonar to spot any shape in the water that would resemble a child’s body.

Canines used to search the banks of the pond led authorities to the spot where Hauser likely entered the pond, Dale said.

The boat team located Hauser’s body near a boat ramp in the pond.

Dale said the area of the 10-foot-deep pond where Hauser was located is around a quarter-mile away from where she is believed to have entered the water. The water of the pond was moving swiftly Saturday, Dale said.

“We think the current may have floated her down there,” he said. Dale said the only solace in the result of the search is that Savannah’s family can have closure.

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