MADISON COUNTY (KFSM) — The search to find 18-month-old Krystal Wiggins was suspended on Thursday (May 4), Madison County Sheriff Rick Evans said.
“We’ve exhausted all of our resources, we’ve done everything we know to do,” Evans said.
Crews used boats, helicopters, divers and K9 officers to search the area, but according to Evans, the terrain and depth of the water made the search difficult. He also said that volunteers will continue to search for the missing toddler, but efforts will now be scaled back by law enforcement.
Three people, a 38-year-old woman, her 4-year-old son, Damien, and 18-month-old daughter, Krystal, were stranded in high water in the Hindsville area on Saturday (April 29). Water then carried their truck off the roadway and over a low water bridge on County Road 7320, according to a Madison County Sheriff’s Office release.
The mother attempted to save her children, but they were swept from her arms after they exited the vehicle. The mother was found about a mile downstream, but the children could not be located.
The body of Damien Wiggins was found on Monday afternoon (May 1) in the Glade Creek area, between War Eagle River and the highway 412 bridge; approximately 3.25 miles from the low water bridge that the truck was swept off of. Wiggins was pronounced dead at the scene, and his remains were taken to a funeral home in Huntsville.
On Tuesday (May 2), searchers continued without discovering anything other than Krystal’s pants that she was wearing at the time of the incident. Dive teams from Texas also responded and searched over 13 deep water pools along Glade Creek from the low water bridge where the incident happened, all the way to War Eagle River.
Arkansas State Police were also on the scene with over 30 officers, along with a rescue team from Ohio.
On Wednesday (May 3), searchers did not find anything. Dive teams revisited some deep water pools from Glade Creek toward War Eagle. The Madison County Road and Bridge Department brought an excavator into Glade Creek to remove three large debris fields. 49 Troopers with Arkansas State Police were also on the scene, and they said this is one of the first times they’ve ever been part of a search at this level.
“You’re out here trying to find this little girl to help the family get some closure, and it’s real rewarding for the guys and there’s a lot of presence,” Sgt. Scott Joe with Arkansas State Police said. “Most people don’t see the state police out here busting the brush and in the creek like that.”
5NEWS spoke with Damien and Krystal’s uncle and grandfather, who said their hearts are aching during this ordeal, but they want to stay strong for a mom who has lost her babies.
“I take care of her the best I can,” said Steve Baker, grandfather. “She’s 37-years-old and I love her just like she’s one of them. She’s my baby.”
The family said they’re praying for a miracle, and feeling the love from the community banding together to help. “There’s been an amazing amount of support from the community,” said Steven Baker, uncle. “It’s overwhelming the amount of people and strangers that have shown up to help.”
A family friend has set up a Go Fund Me account to help with funeral expenses.