Body of Aneth toddler found
After nearly three weeks of searching, the body of missing four-year-old girl may have been found on Wednesday.
According to a family statement posted late Wednesday night, volunteers Kevin and Christian Day of Layton, Utah, discovered the body believed to be of Anndine “Cookie” Jones around 6:15 p.m. along McElmo Creek, three miles south of their home. The family resides about 3 miles north of the chapter house along the creek.
“We, the family of missing four-year-old Anndine Jones, are heartbroken to announce that the search for Anndine has come to an end,” the family statement said.
“Anndine ‘Cookie’ Jones will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. She brought such joy to our family, and will forever live on in our hearts and memories,” the statement said.
The family thanked all the volunteers and rescue officials for their help and also asked that their privacy be respected during their time of grieving.
Positive identification of Jones is pending, but according to a Navajo Police statement, the girl’s parents identified her.
Jones went missing on March 14. The following day, a massive search began as search and rescue personnel and volunteers used drones and boats and divers searched along the creek and the San Juan River. Helicopters used thermal imaging cameras.
The three-day search was unsuccessful. That Sunday the Navajo Police suspended their operation. However, her family and volunteers continued searching.
Navajo Nation Police Chief Phillip Francisco said, along with the FBI, the investigation continues.
“This has been a difficult time for everyone involved,” he said. “We ask that the public continue to keep the family in their thoughts and prayers as they navigate through this difficult time.”
The chief said no other information would be released due to the ongoing investigation.
Seth Damon, speaker of the Navajo Nation Council, and Charlaine Tso, the Aneth area’s delegate, issued statements.
“I am very sad and heartbroken to hear of Anndine Jones’ passing,” said Tso. “I prayed for days for a miracle. I will continue to support the Jones family and my community of Aneth.”
“The Navajo Nation grieves with the Jones family,” Damon said. “On behalf of the 24th Navajo Nation Council, I extend our most heartfelt condolences to the Jones family and the community of Aneth.”