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Body of girl reported missing near Mitchell, Ont. found after 9-day search

OPP identified the deceased as Taleya Paris, 10, of West Perth.
OPP identified the deceased as Taleya Paris, 10, of West Perth. Via GoFundMe

A 10-year-old girl last seen near Whirl Creek on the morning of March 6 was found dead on Monday after an extensive search involving multiple emergency services from throughout the region.

Police say she was found deceased in the creek just before 3 p.m. in Whirl Creek on Monday. Tuesday morning, OPP announced that the search was over and identified the deceased as Taleya Paris, 10, of West Perth.

Her death is not considered suspicious, police added.

Emergency personnel along Whirl’s Creek as seen in a video shared by OPP on March 15, 2022. via @OPP_WR/Twitter

Read more: OPP searching for missing 10-year-old last seen at river in Mitchell, Ont.

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The search included an OPP helicopter, members of multiple OPP units including the canine unit and underwater search and recovery unit, the Stratford and St. Marys fire departments, Huron Area Search and Rescue, Swift Water Rescue and several other area departments.

“Our hearts are heavy at this time with the loss of this community member and we look to our community to continue to provide support to the family involved,” Perth OPP Insp. Wendy Burrow said in a video posted to Twitter.

West Perth fire department Chief Bill Hunter thanked fire departments from across Ontario for their support and added that it’s important to let the family grieve privately.

“Certainly at this time, the family needs to be allowed their privacy and time to grieve, and I’m sure that the community will continue to support them through this traumatic period.”

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The search for the girl now identified as Taleya Paris began Sunday, March 6 after provincial police say they received a report that a child had fallen into Whirl Creek near Mitchell around 10:30 a.m. The creek flows westward toward Mitchell, where it joins with the southward Thames River.

Mitchell is a small community of around 5,000 in West Perth, about 20 kilometres northeast of Stratford and around 60 kilometres north of London, Ont.

A GoFundMe set up to help the family cover funeral expenses and grief counselling said Taleya was a twin and one of four children. 

In a post on Facebook, her father, Tharron Paris, said she is now at peace. 

“Rest in paradise Taleya, Daddy loves you always and forever. Thanks to everyone for all the love and support. They found my princess this evening. I’ll always cherish the amazing memories. You may be gone, but never forgotten,” he wrote in a Facebook post yesterday. 

West Perth Mayor Walter McKenzie told Global News on March 10, before Paris’s body was recovered, that the incident had “devastated our little community.”

Read more: Emergency crews continue searching for 10-year-old girl near Mitchell, Ont.

McKenzie said community members had started lining the bridges that go over the creek where the little girl fell in with teddy bears.

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“It’s an awful thing to have happen to a community, and I think we’re coping as well as we can. It’s hard, and certainly, people will do anything. They would love to help,” he said.

Emergency crews had asked that residents not participate in the search, as the area around the river can be hazardous. Instead, residents showed their support by bringing first responders food and coffee as they worked.

with files from Global News’ Kevin Nielsen, Matthew Trevithick, Sawyer Bogdan and Kelly Wang

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