A four-year-old girl was found dead in Florida after she wandered from her family’s rental home.
Evelyn Geer was found along a canal, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said Friday. The search for the boy went on for hours and included the use of bloodhounds and aviation assistance early Friday morning, the sheriff’s office said on Facebook.
The search began when the mother of the four-year-old girl found the front door of the Port Charlotte home unlocked, prompting her to call emergency services, according to CNN.
On the 911 call, a dispatcher says the mother is “screaming, warning that her four-year-old daughter is missing. She found the door to her house wide open.”
On the call, the mother can be heard saying, “This can’t be happening,” according to WINK.
The sheriff’s office said the girl was only wearing a diaper when she left the house. The family was staying in a house they had rented on VRBO after Hurricane Ian forced them out of their home in September, according to the local outlet.
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Claudette Smith said, “Evelyn is on the spectrum. They usually have a lock to keep it in because we know that autistic children tend to wander, so they usually have those kinds of security measures in place.”
“Because this is not their current residence, they did not have that measure,” he added, according to WBBH.
“We are heartbroken to confirm that the body of 4 year old Evelyn K Geer (Feb 25, 2019) has been discovered along the water’s edge by the canal behind the VRBO the family was staying at,” he wrote. the Sheriff’s Office on Facebook at 5:55 a.m. on June 2. “[The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission] I located her about an hour ago while searching by boat. Please keep the family in your prayers as they go through this excruciating time.”
Tina Kolman, the boy’s grandmother, wrote on a GoFundMe fundraising page that “Today we lost our most precious shining star and it is with the greatest of hearts that I create this account.”
“Forgive me because I really have no words,” he added.
A neighbor, Steve Stotler, told WINK he was “shocked” when the helicopters woke him up midair at 4am.
“I went out into the street to see what was happening, and that’s when the officer told me that they were looking for a 4-year-old girl,” he said.
Another area resident, Linda Kopycai, said officers woke her up and wanted to see her security footage.
“It’s the scariest thing when a policeman knocks on your door at three in the morning because he never brings good news at three,” he said. “We showed him all the videos we had.”