Crews Resume Search after Girl Goes Missing in Stanislaus River

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Update: On Wednesday, the sheriff's department confirmed they found the body of 5-year-old Matilda Ortiz.

KNIGHTS FERRY -- The desperate search for a still missing 5-year-old girl continued Monday morning and into the night in Stanislaus County.

Matilda Ortiz’s family says she was in Knights Ferry with her father when she was swept up by the Stanislaus River Sunday afternoon.

"I just want to ask anybody that’s a parent that could imagine what I’m going through just to please help. Please help me find my child," said Matilda's father, Roberto.

Family shared this photograph of Matilda Athens Ortiz, 5, with FOX40.

Matilda's loved ones say the little girl is severely autistic, loves the outdoors and just wanted to dip her toes in the water.

"Right before that happened he had gave her a kiss and told her, 'I love you, Matilda,' and she slipped," said the girl's aunt, Letty.

Her family says several people tried to save her but the current was too fast and the water was too deep.

"Been here since yesterday since they stopped looking for her," said her mother, Marissa Vasquez. "We haven’t left and we can’t leave until we find her."

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department sent a helicopter and drones in the air and at least two boats in the water to find her.

Deputies are asking for people to stay out of the river.

"It’s dangerous," said Stanislaus County Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Anthony Bejaran. "The water is running fast, the river levels are high and there’s debris in the water. We don’t want to create another situation where there’s an emergency and we have to divert."

Recent storms have created dangerous conditions along the waterway. On Sunday just after noon, preliminary data was showing estimated river flows at around 4,200 cubic feet per second in the area of Orange Blossom Bridge.

Family and friends will continue to look for any sign of little Matilda by the riverbank.

"She’s my strength. She’s my pride and my joy and I just need her in my arms," Vasquez told FOX40.

Stay with FOX40 for more updates.

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