ST. PETER, Minn. (KMSP) - Crews have found 12-year-old Mya Ann Arriaga, a girl with developmental disabilities, after she disappeared for more than a day.
St. Peter Police Chief Matthew Peters says the girl was found in an area along the Minnesota River that was not the originally focus of their search. A sharp-eyed deer hunter spotted the girl Saturday afternoon clinging to a tree.
Chief Peters was there soon after Arriaga was found.
“The deer hunter that initially found her could not get her out of the water. She was holding on to a tree,” Chief Peters said.
Mya was first reported missing early Friday morning. A driver reported seeing her on the Highway 99 bridge wearing pajamas and no shoes. She is non-verbal with developmental disabilities.
Law enforcement used ground patrols, boats and a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter in the search which soon focused along the Minnesota River. The search started back up Saturday morning until Mya was found.
“I was amazed that she was conscious. At one point she was sitting up. She's been in the elements since at least 3:30 yesterday morning. It's a long time," Chief Peters said.
Chief Peters says it seemed like the whole community joined in the search...
“They want to get involved. They have an emotional stake in these kinds of situations. And they were always for updates. If you walk in our office now, you'll see that it's full of food and water, people just stop and help and want to become involved,” Chief Peters said.
It's unclear how long Mya was in the river and Chief Peters says we may never know.
“Mya is not able to communicate with people. She's can't tell people her story. It's frustrating for us. We would like to know that. We would like to know that,” Chief Peters said.
Mya was reunited with her family before being flown to a hospital. Her condition is unknown at this point.
Chief Peters says Mya has left the house before and believes her family will ensure an alarm at their home is working so this doesn't happen again.