The search for Elle Ragin, a missing six-year-old girl whose mother died by suicide in Northfield on Saturday, continued Tuesday afternoon.
"We are still extremely hopeful, but, based on the information and evidence that we have at this time, we are concerned that we may not be able to find her,” Chief Mark Elliot said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
On Tuesday, Elliot shared new details about the information that led investigators to concentrate their search on the Mississippi River near Rice, Minnesota.
The Mississippi River County Park, where investigators began searching Saturday, remains closed while search teams conduct operations on the water.
On Sunday, the Northfield Police Department stated it has reason to believe Elle's mother, Lisa Wade, was involved in Elle's disappearance before taking her own life.
Police found Wade dead inside her home on Saturday after a family member requested a welfare check.
According to Elliot, Elle was last seen on June 19.
Cell phone data revealed Wade drove to the park in rural Stearns County two days later. That day, around 3 p.m., Wade's cell phone turned off and never turned on again.
Again, on June 23, Wade visited the park.
That day, deputies interacted with Wade and helped her arrange for her vehicle to be towed after she told deputies she'd lost her phone and car keys while hiking.
Wade's family members tell law enforcement Wade seemed "distraught" during the following week, Elliot said. Additionally, surveillance footage captured Wade at various locations between June 23-July 2, but Elle is not seen with her, which law enforcement consider very unusual.
The mother and daughter were usually together and had "a very close relationship," Elliot said.
So far, the search of the Mississippi River County Park has turned up Elle's cell phone and Wade's cell phone and purse.
Elle's phone was found on land, Elliot said, and Wade's phone, purse and keys were found in the river.
There's no known connection between Wade and the Stearns County area, Elliot added.
“This is a very difficult investigation for everybody we have on this team," he said. “This is a heartbreaking case.”
Elle is 3'6'' and 45 pounds with brown curly hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information is urged to call Northfield Police Department at 507-645-4477 or 911.