Rescue teams end search for missing 6-year-old girl who fell in Chester Creek

Six-year-old Li’najah Brooker fell into Chester Creek on Saturday evening, prompting a joint search operation from multiple local, state and federal agencies.

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Recovery operations at Chester Creek

Recovery operations at Chester Creek (6abc)

Search and rescue agencies are ending recovery efforts for Li’najah Brooker, a 6-year-old girl who went missing in the Chester Creek Saturday evening.

“Unfortunately, despite our collective efforts, we have been unable to locate the child,” Chester Mayor Stefan Roots said in a statement Tuesday. “It is with profound sadness that we acknowledge this outcome. Our hearts ache for the family as they navigate through unimaginable grief. To the family, please know that the entire community stands with you during this incredibly difficult time.”

Li'najah Brooker
Li’najah Brooker (courtesy of the city of Chester)

Li’najah fell into the rain-swollen creek near 8th and James streets while playing with two other children, prompting a three-and-a-half day search led by the Chester City Fire Department.

By Sunday, the search devolved into a body recovery effort.

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With the help of PawSAR, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Delaware State Police, first responders scoured Chester Creek and the Delaware River. The U.S. Coast Guard deployed its choppers for the search effort. The agencies utilized a combination of boat and dive teams, aerial and underwater drones and sonar equipment.

On Monday, images of the creek from the sonar scans did not find a trace of the young girl. First responders tried looking again Tuesday with scent canines but the efforts came up short.

“As Mayor, I speak for our community when I say that we are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” Roots said. “But in the face of adversity, our city has come together to offer support, prayers, and comfort to the family. The outpouring of solidarity from citizens of Chester and from those who have reached out to me directly expressing their sympathy and condolences from across the country has been overwhelming. In times of sorrow, it is through our unity and compassion that we find strength.”

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