Search for missing girl ongoing despite challenges
Searchers are still hopeful that they will find Anndine Jones, age four of Aneth. Jones wandered away from her home on Thursday, March 14, setting off four days of intensive searching in the area.
The home is near McElmo Creek, which is running high after recent storms. The search centered on the creek bed after footprints were discovered leading toward the creek.
The Navajo Nation Police Department in Shiprock, NM set up a command post at the Aneth Chapter House and helped coordinate a massive search and rescue effort that involved volunteers and experts from a number of agencies.
The Navajo Nation Police report that more than 200 community volunteers assisted in the foot searches for the missing toddler.
The search effort was temporarily suspended on Sunday, March 17, officials explained, so they could “organize and secure additional resources for subsequent search efforts.”
Until then, volunteer and private search efforts continue.
Jones was reported missing to law enforcement officials after noon on March 14. Workers from Navajo Nation Police, the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, and Utah Navajo Health Systems (UNHS) Emergency Medical Services joined volunteers in a search that eventually included the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter.
The helicopter, equipped with heat sensors, combed the area along McElmo Creek as darkness fell on Thursday.
On Friday, several hundred volunteers from near and far helped comb the area around the house and along the creek. The creek bed is full of tamarisk and Russian olive trees, creating difficult circumstances for searchers.
The search on Friday stretched along McElmo Creek to the San Juan River, which is approximately two miles downstream from the home. Members of a high river rescue team from Farmington, NM and a dive team from Montezuma County, CO were involved in the search on Friday.
They report that the water in McElmo Creek was running “high and fast,” with waist to chest-deep water and strong eddies in places.
By Saturday, additional crews arrived as the search continued down the San Juan River toward Montezuma Creek and Bluff. These crews include the Grand County Search and Rescue team and employees for the Bureau of Land Management.
Officials report they have found no sign of Anndine. In addition to the extensive search in the area, Jones is listed as a missing person in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).