Willa Rawlings was the last of the bodies to be recovered of the deceased three children swept away in Arizona floodwaters Thanksgiving weekend

By Georgia Slater
December 14, 2019 06:30 PM
Willa Rawlings
Willa Rawlings
| Credit: GoFundMe

The final body missing from the car carrying nine people that was swept away in a flooded Arizona creek during Thanksgiving weekend was found.

Authorities confirmed the body’s identity was 6-year-old Willa Rawlings.

While six of the people in the military-style truck — Willa’s parents and four other children — were rescued by helicopter on the day of the incident (Nov. 29), the bodies of Willa’s brother, Colby and cousin Austin, both 5, were recovered on the morning of Nov. 30.

According to a Gila County Sheriff’s Office press release, Willa’s body was found nearly two weeks after the incident. Her body had drifted several miles away from where the vehicle was rescued in Tonto Creek, Arizona, near the Bar X crossing.

The release stated Willa’s body was uncovered on Friday from the area of Indian Point on the north side of Roosevelt Lake on the Tonto Creek Arm.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched on Nov. 29 around 4:11 p.m. to the Bar X crossing area upon receiving a call of a stuck vehicle as heavy rain was coming through the area.

Earlier that day, the crossing had been barricaded and closed due to the flooding, KPHO reported.

“It is at times like this that I am proud to live in and serve this County. The outpouring of support demonstrates how we come together in times of need to assist and support each other,” Sheriff J. Adam Shepard said in a statement, thanking those in the community who supported the rescue team during their days-long search.

“My condolences and prayers go to the Rawlings Family, who have lost three young children and I am grateful we were able to find Willa today,” he added. “As this concludes this operation this event will have a lasting effect on all of us.”