Missing 18-month-old found dead near Saline Co. river

SALINE COUNTY, Mo. - UPDATE: New info in missing toddler's death http://bit.ly/LEJFwX

A missing 18-month-old girl was found dead on the bank of Blackwater River early Sunday morning after her missing mother said she left her there, according to the Saline County Sheriff's Department.

The search for the child and mother began July 5, after their car was found in a field on the west side of Highway K. Police say the mother abandoned the car, dumped a stroller and car seat in a ditch and stole a truck from a nearby shop.

Police later found the vacant truck in a field on Saline County 105, but were unable to locate the mother or child.

On July 7, a resident called police and said the mother had come to their house, seemed extremely disoriented and stated that she remembered leaving her 18-month-old on a river bank.

Police and volunteers began a search early Sunday morning and soon located the child's body by the Blackwater River, about 20 miles south of Marshall, Mo.

"It was very somber; it was 2 o'clock in the morning," search volunteer Mick Kreisel said. "Everyone kind of knew what the outcome was going to be because it'd been 48 hours since they had gone missing."

The mother's family told police she was on medication and had not taken any the day she went missing. According to Saline County authorities, she suffers from schizophrenia. She is currently being treated at a hospital for dehydration.

The case is currently under investigation by the Saline County Sheriff's Department. No charges have been filed.

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