Divers search NH pond for sign of missing girl, 11
Monday, August 1, 2011
STEWARTSTOWN, N.H. (AP) — Divers searched a pond in northern New Hampshire on Sunday for clues to the disappearance of an 11-year-old girl, who's been missing for several days.
State Fish and Game Department divers explored Back Pond for any sign of fifth-grader Celina Cass, Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said. The small pond is less than a mile from Celina's home in Stewartstown, a community of 800 residents with one blinking streetlight and a handful of stores.
Vermont and New Hampshire state police, the FBI and other agencies also were continuing their ground search in those states and in Canada, Young said.
"We're searching for Celina Cass as a missing person," she said. "We have no evidence to categorize this any other way."
Celina, who lives with her mother and stepfather, was last seen Monday night at her home computer in her small town in far northern New Hampshire.
Her stepfather, Wendell Noyes, described her as a quiet girl who would not have left the family's three-story home on her own.
Town residents described Celina as a sweet, friendly child. One of Celina's best friends, 11-year-old Makayla Riendeau, said Celina loves her mother and likes her stepfather and wouldn't run away. She said Celina is very athletic, is a stickler about getting her school work done on time and loves having friends over to her house.
"She's a very good friend, and she never lets anybody down," Makayla said.
In the search for the tall, gap-toothed girl, investigators have knocked on hundreds of doors, and hundreds of fliers with her photo have been put up throughout Stewartstown and nearby communities. Law enforcement agencies have set up a command post at the local school.
The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information in the case, and a community member has added $5,000.
Concerned residents have passed out purple and pink ribbons and held vigils for Celina. About 80 people, many with candles in hand and tears in their eyes, gathered for a nighttime vigil in neighboring Canaan, Vt., two days after she disappeared.
"It feels like a lost section of the town," family friend Rebecca Goodrum, of nearby Beecher Falls, Vt., said at that vigil. "She was beautiful. She was the light of everything."
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