The family of the little girl who died after falling in a creek near Mitchell, Ont., is expressing their graduate to first responders and the community who showed support and helped in the search.
Taleya Paris, 10, of West Perth was last seen near Whirl Creek on the morning of March 6.
After a nine-day search, police found her deceased in the creek just before 3 p.m. on Monday and police say her death is not considered suspicious.
In response to the loss, her father, Tharron Paris, and the Paris, Tynes, Jones and Moore family released a joint statement on Thursday to thank first responders.
“(We) would like to express our sincerest gratitude and say thank you to all who have supported us throughout this horrendous ordeal. We want to give a special thank you to the Perth Region OPP, London Police Division Team, Mitchell and Brice Ontario Fire Services, and Perth Regional Search and Rescue Services who came from far and wide and never gave up the search until Taleya was found,” the statement read.
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“Our family had never given up hope that Taleya would be recovered, and now that we have closure for this part of the tragedy, we ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy during our time of bereavement.”
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 Monday.
Mitchell is a small community of around 5,000 in West Perth, about 20 km northeast of Stratford, Ont., and around 60 km north of London.
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.
— with files from Global News’ Jacquelyn LeBel