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Parents Of Missing Girl Praise Volunteers, Gov. Ducey Calls Bridge For Area A Priority

(Patrick Breen/The Arizona Republic via AP)

An Arizona couple whose truck was swept down a runoff-swollen creek say they are grateful to emergency personnel and volunteers searching for their missing 6-year-old daughter.

The bodies of a 5-year-old son and a 5-year-old niece of Daniel and Lacey Rawlings were found Saturday, a day after a nine-member family group tried to a cross a creek in a military-style truck. reports that the couple didn’t want to discuss what happened Friday or why they tried the cross the creek with their four children and three nieces.

However, Daniel said during an interview he would like to embrace the individual searchers.

Gila County Sheriff’s Lt. Virgil Dodd said Tuesday that about 60 law enforcement search and rescue team members were searching for Willa Rawlings. More than 300 civilian volunteers were also involved in the search of about 5 miles of creek bed.

The crossing had been closed with barricades and signs because of a storm that dropped an estimated 2 inches of rain in the Tonto Basin area.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey says he will work to find money in next year’s state budget to help build a bridge over the rural creek where the family was swept away.

The governor told reporters Tuesday that with the state in a good financial position looking at ways to fund a $20 million bridge to serve the small community is in the mix.

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