Divers find body of missing 12-year-old girl

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LAKESIDE, Calif. - The body of a 12-year-old girl was found in San Vicente Reservoir in Lakeside five days after she fell from a boat, authorities confirmed Wednesday.

Several government and private agencies searched since Saturday to recover the body of the girl, identified as Lia Barakett of Ontario.

The girl was in the bow of a vessel that was towing people on a tube when she fell into the water around 6 p.m. Saturday, according to San Diego police. The boat slowed down and the girl went over the side and into the water in front of the boat.

Investigators believe the vessel continued to move, possibly running her over, police said. Barakett was wearing a life jacket, which was found in the water.

A search for the girl began immediately but was suspended when night fell Saturday.

The driver of the boat helped crews narrow their search zone on Sunday and divers and lifeguards focused their efforts in an area of around 300 to 400 yards, police said.

San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Rich Stropky said debris and the lack of light in the deep water made it difficult for divers to navigate the area. They relied heavily on technology provided by Orca Maritime, an Imperial Beach-based all-terrain surveying company, in the search for the girl.

An autonomous underwater vehicle scanned the bottom of the lake on Sunday. Vessel engineers spent days reviewing the data and Tuesday night pinpointed the location of the girl 165 feet below the surface, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department officials.

With the use of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), divers were able to recover her body early Wednesday morning, lifeguard Lt. Rich Stropky said.

San Vicente Reservoir will continue to be closed until further notice, officials said.

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