UPDATE @ 8:10 PM Sunday:
WARREN (Erie News Now) – Several family members assisting in the search for a toddler believed to be missing in the waters of the Allegheny River since Saturday morning, found the little girl’s body around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The official search for the two-year-old girl named Izzy, resumed in the river Sunday around 10:30 a.m. using sonar, divers, scent tracking dogs, rescue teams and resources from the PA Fish and Boat Commission.
Pennsylvania State police and family members told Erie News Now on Saturday that the child left her home in Tidioute along the river with siblings ages 5 and 3 and apparently fell into the water. State police used scent tracking dogs from the child’s bedroom to the river to confirm that.
The child’s mother, Patti Vargason told Erie News Now her stepfather, brother, aunt and uncle found Izzy’s body Sunday in a wooded area along the Allegheny River not even a quarter of a mile from her home.
Vargason said, “I’m so thankful that the body was found, and we can have a funeral.” She added, “my worst fear was that we wouldn’t find her.” Vargason said the family members found the body by digging around a wooded area along the river bank that wasn’t exposed on Saturday because of high water.
The official search was focused on a different area when family members found the little girl’s body.
The mother told Erie News Now on Saturday that she was sleeping when her three youngest children left their yard through a gate left open by older siblings who had gone to a neighbor’s house. She said her five-year-old ran for help after seeing the child fall off a dock into the river.
State police in Warren have been leading the investigation into the incident.
An autopsy is expected to be performed in Erie to confirm the child’s cause of death.
ORIGINAL @ 10:00 AM Sunday:
WARREN (Erie News Now) – A search is underway for a two-year-old child believed to be missing in the Allegheny River in the Tidioute, Warren County area.
The incident happened in the vicinity of Valley View Lane, along the Allegheny River.
Family members said the little girl named Izzy went outside Saturday morning with two other young siblings ages 3 and 5, who said they saw her fall into the river.
The children’s mother, Patti Vargason called 9-1-1 around 11:00 a.m. Saturday.
According to Pennsylvania State Police, a tracking canine was called in to the scene, to follow the child’s scent from her bedroom to an area on the river where it is highly suspected she fell into the high moving water.
The search effort brought in multiple agencies and resources, PSP Warren Troopers, a state police helicopter, McKean County Tracking Canine, PA Fish and Boat Commission, Tionesta, Hickory and Tidioute VFDs, and the McKean County Special Operations Group Dive Team.
State police say that the dive team is utilizing an underwater submarine to scan the water and bank side of the Allegheny River. Also, several volunteers in the area are assisting in the search.
Vargason told Erie News Now that because the river is high and rushing, she is not holding out hope that the little girl will be found alive, but she does pray that the child’s body is recovered.
The mother told us that Izzy, who just turned two on August 3, was wearing a diaper and Minnie Mouse underwear.
The search was suspended Saturday evening and is expected to resume Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
Anyone with information should call PA State Police in Warren at 814-728-3600.