RIVERVIEW, Florida - A foster family is mourning the loss of a severely autistic girl who wandered off from a home and was found dead in a retention pond.
Authorities with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said 10-year-old Ariana Pivachek's body was discovered in about five to six feet of water. The pond was behind a home she was visiting for the weekend.
Photo Gallery: Missing Riverview girl found dead
Investigators say Ariana went missing during a barbecue at the home along Golden Silence Drive. Jacquleen Rodriguez, Ariana's foster sister, said the little girl was spending the weekend with her family, who've been a foster family to Ariana on and off throughout her whole life. According to Rodriguez, the little girl could hardly speak and did not know the difference between right and wrong.
Many neighbors and dozens of deputies searched the Fronterra community for hours. Authorities used a helicopter, K-9's, and also went door-to-door looking for Ariana.
Posters were even put up. Dive crews also searched a number of retention ponds in the community. One of those searches eventually led to the little girl.
The investigation is ongoing. Authorities want to make sure foul play or negligence did not play a role in this child's death.