The search for a missing 4-year-old girl with autism came to a tragic close Friday in Indiana.
After the state issued a silver alert Thursday for Fiedwenya “NeeGee” Fiefe, who was believed to be in “extreme danger” after wandering away from home, Plainfield Police Department announced that a body matching her description was found during a search by officials and local citizens.
“Despite the valiant efforts of our citizens, volunteers, police, fire, along with local and state agencies, the search for missing NeeGee has come to a devastating and heartbreaking end,” read PPD’s statement on Facebook. “This evening, a body of a child that matches the description of NeeGee was located in a body of water in the Legacy Farms subdivision.”
“Exact confirmation as to the child’s identity will be determined by the Hendricks County Coroner’s Office. We ask that the public please keep Fiedwenya Fiefe’s family in their thoughts and prayers and respect their privacy at this time,” the statement added.
Fiefe’s parents reported her missing Thursday afternoon to PPD after she “wandered away from her home” in the Legacy Farms neighborhood of Plainfield, which is about 17 miles southwest of Indianapolis.
A woman identifying herself as Fiefe’s mother told Fox 59 that her daughter went missing after a miscommunication that led her to believe the girl was with her grandmother.
“She has a history of leaving the residence unattended but they generally find her quickly and get her back,” Plainfield Deputy Chief Joe Aldridge told reporters Friday, according to ABC News. The outlet noted that Fiefe was nonverbal and drawn to water, and the search focused on the 14 ponds in the area.
Police subsequently asked nearby residents to “go outside and check your property carefully,” as well as “check any exterior home video” in an update on Facebook. Meanwhile, first responders conducted a search using drones, rescue dogs, watercraft and off-road vehicles, which they had to scale back as it carried into the night.
By Friday, there was such an “overwhelming” response from local supporters participating in the search that PPD had to turn volunteers away. ABC News reported that around 500 people participated in the official search party at Legacy Farms and two nearby neighborhoods.