Minn. Police Worried They 'Might Not' Find 6-Year-Old Girl Who Went Missing After Mother's Death

"Based on the information and evidence that we have at this time, we are concerned that we might not be able to find her," Northfield Police Chief Mark Elliott said at a press conference Tuesday

Minneapolis Girl Ellie Ragin,6, Missing As Woman Is Found Dead Inside Home. Rice County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Rice County Sheriff's Office

Officials in Minnesota are concerned they may not be able to locate Elle Ragin, a 6-year-old girl who disappeared around the same time her mother was found dead at their home on Saturday.

"We are still extremely hopeful," Northfield Police Chief Mark Elliott said at a press conference Tuesday, according to NBC affiliate KARE. "But based on the information and evidence that we have at this time, we are concerned that we might not be able to find her."

Authorities still "have been unable to locate" Ragin despite looking into "hundreds of leads" and new case information that have come in over the last three days, according to a Tuesday news release from the Northfield Police Department.

Ragin's disappearance was first reported on July 2 around noon, the same day police found her mother, 39-year-old Lisa Wade, dead of an apparent suicide, the department said.

An initial investigation suggested Wade "may have been involved in the disappearance of her 6-year-old daughter before taking her own life," per the news release.

"This is a heartbreaking case," Elliot told reporters at Tuesday's news conference. "A 6-year-old being missing, I can't think of one that is much more difficult to investigate than this."

Ragin was last seen on June 19, though Northfield police did not disclose the location. Phone records obtained by investigators via search warrant reportedly showed that Wade drove to Mississippi River Park in Stearns County just outside Rice, Minn., two days after her daughter was last seen.

Wade's phone was turned off around 3 p.m. that day "and has not turned on since that time," the department reported.

Two days later, on June 23, a Stearns County Deputy allegedly made contact with Wade at the same park, per Tuesday's news release. Wade appeared to be locked out of her car, and a deputy helped her get towed to a local dealership.

Elliot told reporters that Wade became "confrontational with the deputy … as far as needing assistance for being locked out of her car" but did not believe the encounter was out of the ordinary at the time.

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Between June 23 and July 2, the NPD said Wade was captured on video at various locations without Ragin. Investigators have been told that Elle and Lisa had "a very close relationship," and Elliot said the two were incredibly close.

"It was very uncommon to have one seen without the other," the police chief told reporters. "Outside of work or school, where they would be separated, it was just very, very uncommon to see one without the other."

Family members who were in contact with Wade during the week of June 25 said the mom "seemed distraught," according to Tuesday's news release.

After finding Wade dead on July 2, officials used various resources — including K-9 units, drones and helicopters — to search for Ragin in and around her mother's home, the NPD said. However, they found no evidence.

The team also searched Mississippi Park after learning of Wade's recent connection to the location. There, crews recovered Ragin's cell phone on land and Lisa's cell phone and purse "containing her driver's license and vehicle key fob" in the Mississippi River, per Tuesday's release.

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Elliot told reporters that the items were not found in the same location but were located within the park.

Ragin is approximately 3 feet, 6 inches tall, and weighs 45 pounds. According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, she has brown curly hair and brown eyes.

In a statement posted to Facebook, the department said it believes the child is in danger and identified Wade as her mother.

The investigation into Ragin's disappearance is "open and active," the NPD said.

According to Elliot, crews are still searching the park, primarily focusing on the river. The police chief said officials do not have any other "solid" leads in Northfield.

There is currently no information that would suggest anyone else is involved in Elle's disappearance, Elliott told reporters on Tuesday.

The NPD said officials are awaiting the results of Wade's autopsy and lab tests conducted on her vehicle.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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