Body of missing 6-year-old girl swept away by creek found after 2-week search


TONTO BASIN, Arizona (AP) — Authorities in rural Arizona have recovered the body of a 6-year-old girl who was swept away in surging creek waters during a flash flood two weeks ago.

The body of Willa Rawlings was found shortly before 2:30 p.m. Friday in Roosevelt Lake about 20 miles south of Tonto Basin, where the girl initially went missing.

The announcement from Gila County sheriff’s officials comes on the same day that family members scheduled funeral services for Willa and her 5-year-old brother, Colby.

Nine family members were in a military-style truck that was swept away by floodwaters Nov. 29 while trying to cross Tonto Creek.

Willa’s body was discovered weeks after her younger brother and 5-year-old cousin were located.

A pediatrician in a canoe found her.

“He just said she looks perfectly good. She looked really good. He said, he didn’t think it would affect me like that, being a pediatrician. But he was affected by it. He said she looked really good and still had her bow in her hair,” a volunteer who searched for Willa said.

Volunteers searched for Willia for 13 straight days.

“I hope that this starts the healing process for them and …  I’m sorry,” a volunteer said.

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