WJBF News Channel 6 has learned a 6-year-old girl has drowned in Emanuel County.
Officials with the Emanuel County Sheriff's Office tell WJBF News Channel 6, on Thursday, at approximately 6:35 a.m., deputies and investigators were called to the residence of Preston Burns and Sonia Rich in reference to their missing 6-year-old daughter, Dena Burns. The parents reported to the officers that Dena suffered from autism, and had apparently walked away from their residence. They further told officers that the child liked playing in water.
Deputies, along with officers from the Swainsboro Police Department, and troopers from the Georgia State Patrol, immediately began searching the area surrounding the residence and nearby bodies of water for the missing girl. After searching for approximately 30 minutes, the girl was found unconscious in a neighboring pond. Officers pulled the body from the pond and began performing CPR while waiting on an ambulance to arrive.
Emanuel County Emergency Medical Services arrived shortly thereafter and began further attempts to resuscitate the child. The child was transported to the Emanuel Medical Center, but later pronounced dead by the Emanuel County Coroner's Office.
According to Emanuel County Sheriff J. Tyson Stephens, an autopsy will be performed at the GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta on Friday. Sheriff Stephens further stated that foul play is not suspected in the incident, but that the investigation is ongoing.
The sheriff wished to thank all of the officers and agencies involved in the search for their quick response to the incident and teamwork displayed while conducting the search.
Anyone with information helpful to this incident, or other criminal activity, is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (478) 237-7526 or sheriff's investigators division at (478) 237-6360. All information will remain confidential.
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