By Stephen Sorace
Published March 20, 2019
The search for a five-year-old girl, who is now presumed drowned, has been scaled back three days after she slipped off a rock into the Stanislaus River in Northern California and vanished, a report said Tuesday.
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Royjindar Singh told the Modesto Bee that the search for Matilda Ortiz was reduced to deputies looking along the shore and one boat from the fire department. When the search on Tuesday concluded in the afternoon, Singh said he did not know whether searchers would return Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, family members of Matilda resolved to stay at the scene until the girl's body is found, the Modesto Bee reported. Community members have donated tents, bedding and meals to the family.
Matilda, who is autistic, fell into the river Sunday evening in Knights Ferry. It was later revealed her father, Roberto Ortiz, jumped in to try to save her but was unable to overcome the river’s swift current. Bystanders jumped in to rescue him.
The sheriff’s department on Tuesday night wrote on Facebook that rescue teams were using boats, drones and an underwater camera in their continued search for Matilda.
“Please continue to pray for the family, that we can bring some closure,” the department wrote. “Our hearts break for them and little Matilda.”