Though neighbors have been critical of the Reena Williams' parents, a family friend said she was well-loved.
DANBURY, Wis. (KMSP) -
Sheriff's deputies in Burnett County, Wisconsin suspended the search for a missing 3-year-old girl on Wednesday evening after her body was found.
"It is a tragic situation," said Burnett County Sheriff Dean Roland. "A precious life was lost."
Officials say Reena Williams' body was found at about 4:50 p.m. about 25 yards from her home in 3 feet of water. Investigators are now in the process of draining the canal to look for evidence.
An autopsy to determine the cause of death has been scheduled.
Williams' father was the last to see his daughter alive at the family home at about 6 p.m. on Tuesday; however, the sheriff said she was not reported missing until an hour and a half later.
Her mother, Jenna Danish, said her daughter loves to go fishing and play outside.
"I came outside, I called for her, and the dog she had been playing with all day came up from the river and she was nowhere to be found," Danish said, describing the moment Tuesday night she realized her daughter was missing. "Where she went, the dog went. Wherever the dog went, she went."
Danish told FOX 9 News it was normal for her daughter to play outside, but she insisted the girl would never wander off; however, Roland confirmed that neighbors found the girl wandering near her home twice on the day she went missing. They will be interviewed as part of the investigation.
By 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the search was narrowed to a number of "high probability" zones within a half-mile of the girl's last-known location.
Also on Wednesday afternoon, divers set up near the Danbury dam as they opened the gates to check for Reena. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources also had boats on the water looking for the girl.
Reena's nanny told FOX 9 News that the girl knew not to go into the nearby Yellow River or woods by herself. The family's home is on a peninsula surrounded by the river and Yellow Lake.
"I'm flabbergasted," Danish said. "I have no idea what to think. I have no idea where she's at. I wish she'd just come home."
After her daughter's body was found, Danish thanked the Danbury community for coming together to help in the search.
The large-scale volunteer ground search got underway at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Throughout the day, volunteers poured in to the Danbury baseball park, where the command center for the search was set up. Some came as far as 100 miles, and others got on horseback to help scour the 40-acre peninsula.
Volunteers were asked to bring heavy boots, rugged clothing, bug spray, hats and gloves before going in to the dense forest.
"The terrain is so thick that it has to be done shoulder to shoulder," said Sgt. Ron Wilhelm of the Burnett County Sheriff's Office.
Minnesota State Patrol and Iowa State Patrol helicopters searched the area from above, and a K-9 unit helped with the ground search. The National Guard even flew a tight grid with infared cameras, but no sign of the girl was found.
Officials are also went door-to-door -- even searching Dumpsters; however, they emphasize that they have no reason to suspect foul play at this point.