‘Our worst fears came true’: Missing 4-year-old girl found dead in Warren County

Published: Aug. 22, 2021 at 1:41 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2021 at 8:00 AM EDT
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WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - The search for a 4-year-old girl who went missing in her Warren County neighborhood Sunday has come to a tragic end.

Dive teams found the body of Emerie Schandorf-Woode in a pond at the Turning Leaf subdivision along Turning Leaf Way off U.S. 22 just before 8 p.m., according to Hamilton Township Police Chief Scott Hughes.

Emerie liked to go to the pond to feed the fish, he said.

“Our worst fears came true,” the chief said, fighting back tears at times as he announced the heartbreaking development. “This sucks. This just sucks. She was four years old.”

Ring camera footage showed Emerie was last seen about noon, barefoot and going down her driveway, the chief said in an earlier news conference.

Multiple agencies responded to assist Hamilton Township police search for Emrie: the FBI, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Warren County Dive Rescue & Recovery Team, Ohio State Highway Patrol and Mason police.

The coroner determined her cause of death was drowning.

“We gotta keep the family in our thoughts and prayers because you can imagine, those of you that have kids, I have kids about that age, and it sucks,” he said.

In a statement Sunday night, the Little Miami School District said Emerie would have entered preschool soon.

“It is with the deepest sadness that we share the tragic news of the death of one of our young Panthers, four-year-old, Emerie Schandorf-Woode, who would have entered Preschool in just a few short weeks. Every young death is tragic, but it is so profoundly heartbreaking to lose a precious child this young.

“Counselors at each school building are available for any student or staff in need of grief and mental health support.

“Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with the Shandorf-Woode family & friends during this time. Panther Nation let us come together & lift them up.”

Earlier, in a tweet, police said: “We are utilizing K9 units, drones, and foot searches in an attempt to locate the location of Emerie. We are asking residents in and around 22/3, Cochran, Vista Ridge, and Zoar Road to keep an eye out. Please check your Ring cameras. If you see her, please call 911.”

Chief Hughes said earlier the situation didn’t rise to the level of an Amber Alert because they have no indication she was abducted.

The police chief repeatedly thanked and praised the community for their support during the hours-long search.

Neighbors immediately offered to help look for Emerie.

Food and water appeared for first responders and searchers.

“The community has been phenomenal. You can see the food and the water stuff. Everybody’s coming together,” the chief said earlier Sunday.

“Hamilton Township is a very quiet, safe and close-knit community, so you can just see from the outpouring of support here when something like this happens everyone comes together and that’s exactly what they are doing.”

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