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Recovery efforts on Rock River for 9-year-old resume Monday

The family says they will keep looking until they find her.
Authorities are searching the Rock River in Janesville after a 9-year-old was swept away by the current in Janesville.
Authorities are searching the Rock River in Janesville after a 9-year-old was swept away by the current in Janesville.(Elise Romas/WMTV)
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 8:19 AM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) -Authorities ended their search on the Rock River Sunday afternoon for a 9-year-old girl. Their recovery efforts will continue on Monday.

Madison Billups was playing in the river with her brother near Anglers Park on Thursday, says family members.

The water’s current swept them away and a bystander was able to jump in and save her brother, but Madison disappeared.

On Friday, authorities changed their search from a rescue to a recovery.

9-year-old Madison Billups(Brenda Ward)

Family members remained Sunday afternoon at Anglers park to keep searching for Madison. Family members told NBC15 they have been out every day since Thursday, and some have been sleeping in their cars.

The family set up a small memorial for Madison at the edge of the river. A few of Madison’s cousins told NBC15 she loved everyone and was always laughing and smiling.

“She made everyone her best friend. If you met her, you’re her best friend, and you’re going to play for six hours,” said Brenda Ward, Madison’s cousin.

Aliceza Ladd, another cousin, said the memory of Madison’s smile and energy is helping her get through this.

“She with us through this whole thing. That’s what’s making us be able to pick our heads up, sleeping two, three hours, get back up and continue the search. I don’t know where I’m getting this energy from, it got to be Maddy,” Ladd said.

On Sunday, several family members told NBC15 they wanted to thank the community for their support. Community members have been helping with the search and bringing food and water to the family.

“We went miles down, and there was people outside searching that we didn’t even know was down there, people we don’t even know at all. We definitely thank the community for coming out and helping us try to to bring this baby home,” said Madison’s uncle Tyrell Seals.

The family said they plan to stay at Anglers park until they find Madison.

Copyright 2020 WMTV. All rights reserved.

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