KNIGHTS FERRY (CBS13) – Search crews resumed their search on the Stanislaus River near Knights Ferry for a young girl who fell into the water on Sunday.

Her father and some people nearby jumped in to save her, but five-year-old Matilda Ortiz was never found. Matilda’s family says she has non-verbal autism and can only say a couple of words. Her family is hoping she was able to get out of the water and simply wandered off. 

Crews searched for the five-year-old girl for more than three hours before darkness forced them to suspend their efforts on Sunday. The search resumed Monday afternoon with no luck, and crews halted their efforts around 6 p.m.

Monday, two search and rescue boats, a Stanislaus County Sheriff helicopter and drones are helping in the search for the girl.

Matilda’s father spoke with CBS13 Monday evening, saying she is a strong little girl who he hopes got out of the water somehow. The Ortiz family is asking for help in finding their little girl.

“It doesn’t feel real. It feels like a nightmare I just want to wake up from,” her father said.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and firefighters are asking people to not go near the water due to the dangerous conditions. They said the recent rainfall is contributing to the additional water and strong currents.

Officials said the water is just 50 degrees and moving at a rate of about 10 miles per hour. They are also asking people who are just walking along the river to wear a lifevest.


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