Missing 12-year-old found alive, chest-deep in water and clinging to a tree

She was found conscious and chest-deep in water near the Minnesota River.
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Police say the 12-year-old girl who went missing near Mankato Friday has been found alive, clinging to a tree near the Minnesota River.

Mya Ann Arriaga is described as being non-verbal and developmentally disabled. St. Peter police have been searching for her since early Friday morning when a motorist said they possibly saw the girl walking on a bridge around 3:45 a.m. wearing pajamas and no shoes.

When officers arrived, the girl was nowhere to be found.

About an hour later, the 12-year-old's mother reported her missing.

Several crews searched surrounding land and water, but there was no sign of Arriaga by Friday evening and the search ended for the night.

Chief Matthew Peters previously told KSTP police are familiar with the girl. He went on to say that she is "enamored with the water" and that officials were afraid she was somewhere in the river.

Then around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, the police department says some deer hunters found Arriaga four miles north of St. Peter on the east side of the river, chest-deep in water and holding onto a tree.

Even though temperatures dipped below freezing for much of the state Friday evening, authorities say the girl was conscious and airlifted to the hospital.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a survey found about half of children and youth with developmental disabilities were reported to wander. About one in four of those children have gone missing long enough to cause concern.

The biggest dangers for children who wander tend to be drowning or traffic-related incidents.

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