LANGLEY Crews on Monday found a 20th victim of a flash flood that swept through a popular campground, but they continued searching because authorities don’t know if body belonged to the last person thought to be missing.
State police say the 20th victim was a young girl, but authorities don’t yet know if she is the last person they were looking for.
Capt. Mike Fletcher says crews found the girl’s body Monday morning.
Officials had said earlier that they still were looking for a young girl missing from the campground at the Albert Pike Recreation Area. But Fletcher says searchers aren’t positive if the girl whose body they found was the same one reported missing by her family.
Fletcher says police will wait to announce the girl’s name until her identity is confirmed by dental records or DNA.
State police spokesman Bill Sadler says searchers will decide Monday night whether to continue the search Tuesday.
Dozens of people were feared missing after the pre-dawn Friday flood, but authorities on Sunday narrowed their search to just one person. They said they believe many others first feared missing were camping in other parts of the state, without cell phone coverage.
A heavy storm Thursday night sent river levels climbing while most campers were sleeping, leaving them scrambling in the dark for safety amid the area’s steep terrain.
Eighteen of the 20 victims have been publicly identified, among them seven children age 7 or younger. Eight of the 18 were from Louisiana, seven were from Texas and three were from Arkansas.
By Sunday evening, crews had searched some fifty miles of river and tributaries at least twice, and three or four times in some areas, Forest Service Incident Commander Mike Quesinberry said. The terrain made it impossible to bring in heavy equipment to unlock some of the huge debris piles that collected along the river. One measured 30 feet high and more than 100 feet long, he said.
“This is an area that’s so rugged, there’s so much debris ... you can’t get to it,” Fletcher said.