The search for a missing 3-year-old girl resumed Wednesday after the body of the man who authorities suspected took her was found following an apparent suicide.
Leigh Cowen, 22, was found Tuesday inside a van on a gravel road at Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge, Police Capt. Al Hanson said. Cowen appeared to have killed himself by carbon monoxide poisoning, Hanson said.
There was no trace of Reachelle Smith, who was last seen the night of May 16 when she was put to bed at her home.
Authorities said Cowen lived with the girl's aunt, who is her legal guardian. He had told the woman that the 3-year-old was staying with his mother. Police later learned that Cowen's mother did not know the girl's whereabouts and issued an Amber Alert.
Reachelle's mother and aunt tearfully pleaded Wednesday for her safe return. They said the girl has asthma and needs treatment for it.
"Right now, we just want her back," her mother, Samantha Smith said, crying.
State officials said Cowen was on probation for theft of property in Ward County and had failed to report in as required. A warrant was issued last month for his arrest on charges of violating his probation.