Missing Girl's Body Found

Tuesday, April 1st 2008, 7:12 am
By: News On 6

Hope is lost for one Cherokee County family after their little girl was found Tuesday morning in a creek near Peggs. News On 6's Carina Sonn reports two-year-old MacKenzie Beck was swept underneath the water when she and her mom tried to cross the flooded creek.

"She said 'I love you nanny' and I said 'I love you baby girl,'" said Regena Alverson, MacKenzie's Grandma.

Regena Alverson's granddaughter was found in Spring Creek on Tuesday morning. The search for the toddler began Monday evening, after Heather Alverson and little MacKenzie Beck left their home on foot, trying to avoid becoming trapped.

"It stormed while I was at work and I tried to get home, but I couldn't because the roads were washed out, and they said the little girl fell in the creek and I knew right then which little girl it was," said Regena Alverson, MacKenzie's Grandma.

Officials say Heather Alverson was holding the girl on her shoulders, trying to cross two flooded creeks. That's when she lost her footing and fell in. Only Heather was able to make it safely to the bank.

"I'm not ready to say that we're looking to recover; I hope she's still out there someplace," said Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault.

Hope was alive as late as Tuesday morning as professionals from a number of agencies gathered for day two of the search. But, the view from a chopper, and the speed of an airboat weren't enough to save MacKenzie.

The Peggs Volunteer Fire Department found MacKenzie about 3/4 of a mile from where she went in. Cherokee County officials hope this tragedy is a warning to others.

"If anything good comes out of this people need to learn that they can't cross water like this; on foot, in an ATV or in a vehicle. If your life's not in danger, don't do it," said Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault.

As a little girl's family mourns, learning the hard way.

"She's the most beautiful girl you could ever see in this whole world," said Angela VanBuskirk, MacKenzie's Aunt.

Family members say the house did not have a telephone land line, but Alverson did have a cell phone to call 911, although reception in the area is poor. Cherokee County officials say the family tried to look for the girl by themselves for about 30 minutes before calling for emergency help.

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