The search for a missing 5-year-old girl in New Mexico ended Wednesday with the heartbreaking discovery of the kindergartner’s body in the Rio Grande.
Renezmae Calzada was reported missing by her mother Sunday night; she had been last seen playing in her front yard earlier in the day.
Her disappearance sparked a massive search effort to find Calzada that included local and state police officers, FBI agents and local volunteers who scoured the Española area near the Santa Clara Pueblo, according to the Rio Grande Sun.
"This was supposed to be a news conference for an update but it's um, a bit of bad news," Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. "Renezmae has been located, her remains have been located."
Frank Fisher, a spokesperson for the FBI, said the body was discovered around noon in the Rio Grande in Española, local station KOB reports.
The girl’s body has been sent to the medical examiner’s office to determine how she may have died.
Calzada was reported missing in a 911 call placed by her mother Victoria Maestas at 7:39 p.m. Sunday, the local paper reports.
“The father called her (and) said she has been missing since 9:30 a.m. this morning,” the dispatchers wrote in the call records. “Father hasn’t reported the child missing and thought the (mother’s) family picked her up.”
In the days since Calzada disappeared wearing a Frozen T-shirt and shorts, James Langenberger, of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, said investigators have interviewed between 175 to 200 people in the disappearance, according to KOAT.
On Monday, officials said one person had been arrested that could be connected to the case, but an official told KOAT two days later that the person arrested is not connected to the case.
Authorities at Wednesday’s press conference declined to answer any questions or release any other information about the case, saying they wanted the day to be a day of mourning for Calzada.
“But I can assure you, this investigation has not stopped,” Langenberg said. “We’ll continue to work until we can identify the responsible party for Renezmae.”
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