DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Police Department said a body was discovered in Rocky Mountain Lake Monday morning and it is believed to be a missing child.
Police said they were called to the area of 44th and North Pecos streets for a missing 11-year-old girl with autism at approximately 5:30 a.m.
A search was immediately launched and a reverse 911 was sent to residents in the area.
Around 7:38 a.m., a body was found in Rocky Mountain Lake near West 47th Avenue and Grove Street. Police said the preliminary investigation has determined it is the body of the missing 11-year-old girl.
The lake is more than a mile and a half from her home where she was reported missing, according to Google Maps.
News of the child’s death left many without words and some sad and upset.
“It’s very, very tragic. She was a young girl. It’s saddening,” park visitor Letricia Sanders said.
The map says it would take 36 minutes to walk to the lake, but how she got to the lake is not clear.
“Ah man, it’s hard to believe. It’s really hard,” park visitor Jarvis Sanders said.
Psychologists say children with autism can have wandering triggers and be impulsive. Parks and lakes can get their attention and that can be deadly.
“Three out of four children with autism who wander will actually die in a drowning … with shoes with clothing on, and that’s what makes them more susceptible to drowning,” Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, a child psychologist said.
FOX31 was told that someone passing by saw the body and called the police.
Police said they do not believe there was foul play involved. The coroner’s office will determine the cause of death along with the identity of the deceased.