TONTO BASIN, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Crews searching for a little girl who has been missing in the Tonto Basin area since Friday gave an update on the search Tuesday. The Gila County Sheriff Office said they have not located 6-year-old Willa Rawlings, but they did find a pair of pants that belong to her.

Willa has been missing since her family's truck was swept away by floodwaters in Tonto Creek Friday. Two other children's bodies were recovered following the storm, but Willa has not been found.

[WATCH: Frustrations mount as search for 6-year-old swept away by flooded creek continues]

The sheriff's office says pants belonging to Willa were found 3/4 mile away from where the family's truck was swept away. The exact location was not given.

Hundreds of people have been searching for Willa. Law enforcement agencies, search crews, and volunteers, including some from out of state, have been scouring the area around Tonto Creek for days, hoping against hope they would find the child alive. Drones, dive teams, boats, and helicopters are all being put to use to look for Willa.

The search was suspended at sunset Tuesday with plans to resume efforts once again at 8 a.m. Wednesday. However, rain is in the forecast, and that poses a concern for the search effort. The search Wednesday will focus on the lake area. Sheriff's officials say rain and poor visibility could make it challenging for divers.

[WATCH: Parents speak out about Tonto Basin tragedy]

Willa's parents, Daniel and Lacey Rawlings, have expressed their thanks for the countless messages and prayers they've received over the last four days. "I want everyone to know we feel extremely loved and blessed to have such a great friendship and families surrounding us," Daniel said Monday. "There have been hundreds of people supporting us, searching for our children. I want to embrace them in my arms and tell them one by one, which is not possible."

[RELATED: Parents of children swept away by flooded creek in Tonto Basin grateful to search teams]

On Friday, the Rawlings were with their four children and three nieces when the military-style truck they were in was swept down Tonto Creek. The body of the couple's 5-year-old son, Colby, was found the next day. Colby's cousin Austin, also 5, was found dead, as well.

The family had been crossing the flooded creek at the Bar X Crossing, which is east of State Route 188. The crossing had been closed due to flooding, and there were barricades in place.

[WATCH: Raw drone video of truck being hauled out of Tonto Creek]

Daniel and Lacey did not want to talk about what happened Friday or why they took the truck through the flooded road with seven children. But Daniel did have this comment. "I will say one thing. People go around the barricades all the time. I'm not justifying my actions one bit," Daniel said. "There could be more done."

To that end, Gov. Doug Ducey said Tuesday that building a bridge across Tonto Creek is a priority and the state would try to find money in the budget to pay for it.

“We’re going to look at the infrastructure needs of the state and I’ve heard the asks on this bridge,” Ducey said. “It certainly is going to be considered in this budget season."

[RELATED: Tragedy in Tonto Basin renews calls for bridge over creek]

A friend of the Rawlings family has created a GoFundMe account to help them get through this tragedy.

 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

Locations

Recommended for you