4-Year-Old Girl Found Dead in Canal After Wandering Away from Family’s Rental: ‘Heartbroken’

Evelyn Geer who went missing early Friday morning was found dead in a Florida canal six hours later

<p>Charlotte County Sheriff

Charlotte County Sheriff's Office

The search for a missing 4-year-old girl had a tragic end on Friday.

Evelyn Geer was reported missing at 1 a.m. and was found dead six hours later in Port Charlotte, Florida, according to WINK News

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office announced the discovery of Geer’s remains, in a statement on Facebook, writing, “We are heartbroken to confirm that the body of 4-year-old Evelyn K. Geer (2-25-2019) has been discovered along the water edge down the canal behind the Vrbo the family was staying in.”

“Please keep the family in your prayers as they go through this unbearable time,” the sheriff's office wrote.

Related: Body of Missing Girl, 1, Discovered in Retention Pond by Construction Worker Days After Mom Found Strangled

Aviation units and a bloodhound were used in the search in the town that is 30 miles north of Fort Myers, according to Today. Claudette Smith, a public information officer with the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office told the outlet it was unclear when an autopsy will be performed.

Geer was discovered during a search by a boat belonging to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, according to the sheriff’s office. 

“She wandered off from the Vrbo home her family has been staying at on Barksdale St. in Port Charlotte (near Cochran and Collingswood),” the statement read. “She was wearing a diaper at the time.”

She was thought to have wandered off toward the canal, ABC 7.

Geer’s family was staying at the rental after being displaced by Hurricane Ian this past September, according to WINK News.

At home, the family used a deadbolt lock on the front door because Evelyn had autism, but their rental did not, the sheriff's office said, according to WINK News.

In 911 calls released by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s office, Geer’s mother Evelyn said, “This can’t be happening.” 

Related: Ill. Girl, 1, Is Missing After Her Mom Was Found Slain, Person of Interest Being Questioned in Mo.

When asked to describe her daughter, Evelyn said she was wearing “just a diaper.” “Oh, God. Oh, God! … She’s about 3 feet tall with long brown hair and a ponytail,” Evelyn said.

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Geer was found shortly after 7 a.m.

“Unfortunately, I am here to provide an update for you. We have located Evelyn deceased,” Smith said. “She’s located behind the canal, behind the homes on Barksdale Street, Port Charlotte.”

A neighbor told WINK News he woke up to helicopters at 4 a.m.

“It startled me,” Steve Stotler said. “I went out to the street to see what was going on, and that’s when the officer told me they were looking for a 4-year-old girl.”

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