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Boater finds body of 9-year-old girl who disappeared in Rock River

A boater discovered Madison Billups’ body late Monday morning.
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 12:18 PM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - The body of the nine-year-old girl who was swept away by the current in Rock River has been located.

A kayaker discovered Madison Billups’ body late Monday morning after more than three days of searching. Her body was discovered approximately a mile down stream from where the girl was last seen, the Janesville Police Dept. reported. Authorities said the kayaker had volunteered to help search.

“We even got assistance from volunteer groups. The community support has been fantastic out here and the family has been very supportive through some very difficult times for all of them. Certainly, our hearts go out to the families as they work through this tragic situation,” said Rock County Sheriff Troy Knudson.

9-year-old Madison Billups
9-year-old Madison Billups(Brenda Ward)

According to police, Billups was playing in the river with her brother Thursday evening when they were both caught up in the river’s current. A bystander was able to save the boy, but Billups disappeared.

On Sunday, NBC15 spoke with the family who said they would stay by the river as long as it took to find Billups. Many had barely left the park since Thursday night, sleeping in their cars.

On Monday, the family thanked everyone for their help.

“This is a very difficult time for us right now, so we pray that you guys continue to pray for us, please, because it’s going to be tough for us,” said Billups’ grandmother.

The family said the support from the community has helped them get through the last few days.

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