Community members describe search efforts for 5-year-old girl

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ZIEBACH COUNTY, S.D. (KEVN) - A frantic search starting Tuesday afternoon for a 5 year-old-girl ended tragically on Wednesday.

Multiple agencies and community members come together to search for missing 5-year-old girl starting Tuesday afternoon. Her body was found on Wednesday. (KEVN)

Community members jumped and shouted to signal they spotted the girl's body in the water.

"As I was standing I saw a driftwood coming and about 10 feet behind us, it was an outline of a little body, so by the time we got to the other side of the bridge, it had already floated down. Right away we informed other people, down around the bend there is where she was found," said Howes Resident Keith Curley.

Around 50 people were running alongside the water. Rescuers found her body across the 8-feet deep river and pulled her in.

"I heard on the radio that she was possible found. I had one of the FBI agents with me and we came to the south side of the bridge and they said they needed a boat. Two game fish and parks boats just arrived," said Ziebach County Sheriff Gary Cudmore.

The unusually high water and strong currents made searching extremely difficult for many of the agencies involved, but community members did their part, too.

"Basically all we have out here is community. As you can see on the bridge those are all community members," said Field Supervisor Mike Kennedy.

People searched for almost 24 hours, even creating a makeshift boat dock. A bulldozer was brought in to help boats coming in fit to search for the missing girl.

Sadly, the search didn't have the ending everyone was hoping for.

"I was very sad, but I was happy again because I was able to spot her. If I didn't spot her, she would of went down further into the Cheyenne River and there's no telling when she would be found," said Curley.

The investigation into what happened has been turned over to the FBI. The girl's name has not yet been released.