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Girl, 7, Drowns In Merced River

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BALLICO (AP) — Family members are mourning the death of a 6-year-old girl from the San Francisco Bay area who drowned Sunday in the Merced River.

Merced County search and rescue teams were called to the McConnell State Recreation Area, a park outside of Turlock, after Kairi Sanchez was reported missing around 3 p.m.

The Merced Sun-Star reports that by 6 p.m. a sheriff’s helicopter air crew spotted her body in the river.

Sheriff Mark Pazin says Kairi had been seen wading in the river shortly before she was reported missing. Her death appears to be an accidental drowning, but Pazin says an autopsy will be conducted.

The Sun-Star reports that family members hugged and cried after learning the girl’s body had been recovered.

A sheriff’s spokesman says Kairi was from San Pablo.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press).

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