A five-year-old girl who wandered out from her family home in Pennsylvania on Tuesday during the height of Tropical Storm Isaias has been found dead, police announced Wednesday.
The lifeless body of little Eliza Talal, who was autistic and nonverbal, was tragically found by police in Fischer’s Park at 10:40am Wednesday morning, around two miles from her home.
Eliza had last been seen alive nearly 24 hours earlier around noon on Tuesday, when she reportedly walked out of her home on Spring Valley Road in Lansdale as Storm Isaias wreaked havoc across the east coast.
Her parents reported her missing 30 minutes later and a frantic hours-long ground and air search of the surrounding area was launched by law enforcement to find the missing girl.
The lifeless body of little Eliza Talal, who was autistic and nonverbal, was tragically found on Wednesday, nearly 24 hours after she went missing in the midst of the storm
Her body was found in Fischer’s Park at around 10:40am Wednesday morning, around two miles from her home
The Towamencin Township Police Department said they believe the young girl was likely swept up in a flood after the creek behind her home swelled.
A volunteer searcher from the community found her body among foliage on Wednesday morning next to a creek in the park, after the water had receded.
Police Chief Tim Dickinson said it was apparent the area ‘was extremely flooded at one time.’
An emotional Dickinson recounted the tragic discovery of Eliza’s body, insisting to reporters that it was ‘not the result that we were certainly hoping for.’
Dickinson said the search involved ‘hundreds of personnel’ including officers from his department, the FBI, neighbouring police departments and countless civilian volunteers.
‘We have met with the family. Obviously they are very upset, they’ve gone through a terrible loss. But they are very strong people and we are keeping in contact with them to help them through this as best as we can,’ Dickinson said, fighting back tears.
‘I can tell you that these police officers here and first responders and community members searched tirelessly for Eliza. It’s amazing when you see people come together what they can do,’ he continued.
The police chief said the search for Eliza was ‘extremely difficult’, exacerbated by dangerous weather conditions caused by Isaias that caused widespread flooding in the area and at least five confirmed tornadoes across Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.
Eliza had last been seen alive nearly 24 hours earlier around noon on Tuesday, when she’s believed to have wandered out of her home on Spring Valley Road in Lansdale as Storm Isaias wreaked havoc across the east coast
A volunteer searcher from the community found her body among foliage next to the creek, after the water had receded
The Towamencin Township Police Department said they believe the young girl was likely swept up in a flood after the creek behind her home swelled
Towamencin police said they were overwhelmed with emergency calls and had to perform 11 water rescues throughout Tuesday.
‘I’ve been police chief here for 15 years and I have never seen that level of flooding in Towamencin Township throughout the township in my 15 years here, and that includes Hurricane Sandy,’ Dickinson said, as reported by NBC10.
Dickinson says he has no reason to suspect foul play, but Eliza’s death will be fully investigated.
‘Our prayers go out to her family, who have suffered a terrible loss,’ Dickinson said.
Elsewhere in the state, at least two women also died as a result of the storm.
A 44-year-old died in Lehigh County when her vehicle was swept away by floodwaters on the 6300 block of North Main Street in Upper Saucon Township.
A second woman, who has also not yet been publicly named, was found dead in her home in Milford, Delaware, at 11:45am. Police haven’t yet revealed details about her death but said they believe it was storm-related.
Two people were also killed when Isaias spun off a tornado that struck a North Carolina mobile home park.
Bertie County Sheriff John Holley told local reporters: ‘It doesn’t look real. It looks like something on TV. There’s nothing there.
‘Vehicles are turned over. Vehicles are piled on top of each other. It’s just very sad.’
Three others were killed by falling trees toppled by the storm in Maryland, Connecticut, and New York City, and a seventh person died in Delaware when a tree branch fell on them, authorities said.
Source: Daily Mail