ANETH, UT — A body believed to be that of a 4-year-old Navajo girl missing for weeks has been found in a creek near her home, police said Thursday.
Anndine Jones wandered away from her southern Utah home and apparently ended up in the creek while the water was running high after mid-March rains, said Navajo Nation Police Chief Phillip Francisco.
The body tentatively identified by her parents was caught on underwater debris not far from the spot where she disappeared, and was spotted by volunteer searchers after the water level dropped, he said.
Authorities do not believe foul play was involved. Investigators are still working to confirm her exact cause of death, but she appears to have drowned in McElmo Creek, Francisco said.
Relatives were at home with six other children when she wandered away March 14, he said.
"They're taking it pretty rough," he said. "Hopefully they'll find closure now."
Searchers had been combing the rugged, rural area for weeks with the help of dogs, dive teams and drones, he said. Navajo Nation Council Speaker Seth Damon said the tribe grieves with the girl's family and he thanked volunteers and search and rescue personnel.
The family lives near Aneth, located near the Colorado border on the southern Utah portion of the Navajo Nation, which also stretches into Arizona and New Mexico.