California

UPDATE: Mother of girl who fell into the Stanislaus River seeks help as search resumes

Search continues for girl swept away in Stanislaus River near Knights Ferry

Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department Lt. Anthony Bejaran discusses the search to find a 5-year-old girl who fell into the Stanislaus River on Sunday.
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Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department Lt. Anthony Bejaran discusses the search to find a 5-year-old girl who fell into the Stanislaus River on Sunday.

Update: The mother of a child who slipped off a rock on the edge of the Stanislaus River, fell in and was swept away is asking for help as the search for her daughter resumes this morning.

Marissa Vasquez and several other family members, including the girl’s father, are searching for Vasquez’s 5-year-old daughter, Matilda Ortiz, who has autism.

The family members met at the Russian Rapid trail at about 7 a.m.

“I just can’t sit here and do nothing,” Vasquez said.

Several agencies, led by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, are currently searching for the girl.

Matilda lives with her mother on weekdays in Oakland, Vasquez said. The girl’s father lives in Patterson and Matilda spends weekends with her dad, Vasquez said.

The dad was out with friends and Matilda along the river. When they all stood up from the rock, they all slipped in, Vasquez said.

A sheriff’s deputy told Vasquez that deputies are looking along the banks of the river as far south as the Oakdale recreation area.

The sheriff’s department is using several drones to help in the search.

According to California’s Department of Water Resources, the current river flow is about 4,200 cubic feet per second in the area where the girl was swept away. The temperature of the water is around 50 degrees.

The sheriff’s department is requesting that the public not use personal watercraft to assist in the search for the missing girl on the Stanislaus River.

A 5-year-old girl went missing Sunday afternoon after she slipped off a rock near the Covered Bridge at Knights Ferry and fell into the Stanislaus River. Her father tried to save her, along with others, but were unsuccessful. She has not been found.

Original story:

A 5 year-year-old went missing in the Stanislaus River late Sunday afternoon near Knights Ferry, authorities said.

As of 8 p.m., several agencies were searching for the girl, who was sitting on rocks at the covered bridge area, according to deputy Royjindar Singh of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.

He said her father jumped in, but he began to struggle. Singh said a bystander had a grip of the girl briefly before she was swept away.

The incident began at about 4 p.m.

A chaplain has been called to the scene.

Searches were being conducted both by air and water. Deputies were positioned at bridges and overlook areas to try to locate the girl.

We’ll have more on this breaking story as soon as information becomes available.

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Deke has been an editor and reporter with The Modesto Bee since 1995. He currently does breaking-news, education and human-interest reporting. A Beyer High grad, he studied geology and journalism at UC Davis and CSU Sacramento.


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