NORTH PORT, Fla. -- A North Port community is devastated after a toddler's passing.
- 20-month-year-old girl died after being found in canal
- She was reported missing this afternoon by police
- First responders tried to save her
- Follow: Spectrum Bay News 9's Lauren Verno at scene
Ava Perry, 20 months old, was reported missing from her home in the 8500 block of Alam Ave. in North Port around 11 a.m. Tuesday. Authorities said the child, who was old enough to walk, had last been seen wearing a diaper.
As law enforcement and the community came together to search for her, neighbors had an uneasy feeling as to where she would be found.
"First thing was the officer pounding on the door, and he asked me if I had noticed a 2-year-old that had been running around. And I told him I hadn't. Asked him about long she'd been out. He said about an hour and the first thing that came out of my mouth was the canal," said Heather Osbourne, a neighbor.
Rescuers found Ava in the canal about half a mile away. Neighbors say that the canal was known to be dangerous.
"I have a 6-year-old and I always say, 'Do not go down that canal, do not go down the back because it's a steep drop. You could roll in and sweep you out,'" said Jamie Pratt, who also lives in the community.
Authorities are still investigating exactly how this tragedy occurred and who was supposed to be watching the child during her disappearance. We will update as more information is provided.