STANISLAUS COUNTY (CBS13) — The family of the five-year-old girl presumed drowned in the Stanislaus River said they are frustrated with the lack of resources devoted to the search.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office said one search and rescue boat is actively searching for Matilda Ortiz and several deputies are working along the shoreline. Matilda was swept away by the fast-moving current Sunday afternoon after slipping on a rock.
But people supporting the family along the river said they had not seen the deputies and are ignoring warnings to not go near the water. Sandra Whiteman is among the dozens of people who dropped off supplies to the Ortiz family.
“I know all too well what it’s like to lose people on the water. One of my closest friends we didn’t recover them for years, and so I can relate to the feeling,” Whiteman said.
Whiteman grew concerned Monday when she saw so many people spending the night at the river, actively searching near the rushing waters. She came back again Tuesday to lend more than two dozen life jackets to friends and family who refused to give up searching for the little girl.
Several people ignored the authorities’ warnings to not go in or near the frigid water. Some used those lifevests to wade into the shallow water.
Others are frustrated with the lack of resources devoted to the search. Roberto Ortiz, Matilda’s father, expressed gratitude to the community for coming together to support their family in any way they can.
Dozens of people dropped off food, water, coffee, and toiletries to the family Tuesday. The family said they are not going anywhere and plan to keep spending the night until Matilda Ortiz is found.