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Stearns County Sheriff asks public for help as missing child search continues

Items found in a park along the Mississippi River in Stearns County led to a three-day search for missing 6-year-old Elle Ragin, of Northfield. The Stearns County Sheriff's Office is asking residents along the Mississippi River to keep an eye and report any items that may be related to the search.

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Northfield Police are looking for Elle Ragin, 6, after the death of her mother on Saturday, July 3, 2022.
Northfield Police Department
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ST. CLOUD — An extensive, three-day search along the Mississippi River in Stearns County has not yielded any sign of missing 6-year-old Elle Ragin, of Northfield.

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to help out. It issued a request on Thursday for people living along or recreating on the Mississippi River from the Mississippi River County Park in northeastern Stearns County to the Sartell Dam to monitor the river area over the next few days.

Anyone seeing items along the shoreline that related to this investigation should immediately contact the Stearns or Benton County Sheriff’s Offices.

Police have been searching for Ragin since her mother, Lisa Wade, 39, was found dead by an apparent suicide on July 2 in her Northfield home.

The Northfield Police Department asked the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office on July 3 to assist in searching the Mississippi River park in northeastern Stearns County. After an extensive search, items received at the park led the Sheriff’s Office to believe it is possible that at one point the young girl may have been at the park, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

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The three-day search that followed included more than 100 volunteers on foot, several K-9 units, water patrol with side scan sonar, UAVs, the Minnesota State Patrol helicopter and the Stearns-Benton County Sheriff Dive Team.

The investigation and search is continuing. Anyone with information related to it can contact the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office at 320-251-4240 or the Northfield Police Department at 507-663-9302.

The Mississippi River Park was closed during the three-day search but is now open to the public.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "West Central Tribune staff report." Often, the "West Central Tribune staff report" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

The West Central Tribune newsroom can be reached via email:
willmar-newsdesk@wctrib.com or phone 320-235-1150.
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