Police find toddler's body downstream from Elk River campground


A two-day search for a toddler who wandered away from her family's campsite ended Sunday when a dive team found Daisy Jo Holland's body in the Elk River.

KSTP reports police have no evidence of foul play but are investigating.

Hundreds of volunteers joined a search Saturday afternoon for the girl who would have marked her second birthday on Monday. Daisy Jo disappeared Friday night from a Wapiti Park on the Elk River in Sherburne County.

KARE 11 reported earlier Sunday that search crews would be focusing on the Elk River and nearby Orono Lake.
The Pioneer Press said volunteers were not being asked to help on Sunday.

Elk River Police say that Daisy Jo was last seen about 8 p.m. at Wapiti Park Campground in Elk River -- playing with other children while parents were setting up camp -- before she suddenly disappeared from sight.

More than 300 area residents had gathered at the Gateway Church on Hwy. 10 by noon Saturday, according to the Star Tribune, and 260 of them were dispatched by officers to sweep through fields and dense forests in the search.

By midafternoon, police had called off the volunteer searchers, saying an area up to two miles around the campground had been thoroughly trekked. Officers from several law enforcement agencies continued the hunt and expanded the water search downstream to Lake Orono, according to the paper.

“We believe she wandered off, and now it’s just a matter of trying to, hopefully, find her alive if possible, or just find her period, find that little girl,” Elk River Police Sgt. Darren McKernan told reporters.

Citing more specific information from police, the St. Cloud Times reported that Holland was last seen playing by the river.

Wapiti Park Campground is located on the west side of the city of Elk River just off Highway 10.

KSTP reported that early Saturday, the search shifted to an area along the river bank after search dogs picked up a scent about 200 yards from where the family was camping.

The girl is described as 2 feet tall and 30 pounds, with shoulder length blonde hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing black pants and a pink shirt imprinted with "Hello Kitty."

The Star Tribune reported that the campground's manager, Juanita Glenn, got a call just before dark that the girl was missing, and that "everybody started looking immediately," even before police arrived to begin their search.

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