Autistic girl, 9, found dead at bottom of FLA pond

Published April 8, 2012 2:18AM (EDT)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A 9-year-old autistic girl who went missing from a children's party has been found dead at the bottom of a nearby pond in central Florida.

The Hillsborough County sheriff's office reported that the body of Ariyanna Pivachek was found early Saturday evening in about six to eight feet of water after a massive search.

The child was in foster care and had been picked up Saturday by a family that was considering adopting her. They took her to attend a party with eight other children, and though eight adults were supervising, she was able to wander away after 3 p.m..

The sheriff's office launched a search with assistance from 50 deputies, bloodhounds, helicopters, marine divers and citizens.

Authorities said the death appears to be accidental but the investigation is continuing. A news release says the Tampa-area subdivision "is dotted with numerous ponds that are often deep and have zero visibility."

By Salon Staff

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