Body Of 5-Year-Old Wellington Girl Found Floating In Waterway Near Home
WELLINGTON, Fla. —
A 5-year-old autistic girl who disappeared Saturday night was found dead Sunday.
Kaitlin Bacile’s father said he’s managed to catch up to his daughter when she got out of the house before, but that wasn’t the case this time.
Police said the girl loved to look at water and may have been attracted to one of her comfort zones when she disappeared.
“Like any parent, it’s your worst nightmare,” father John Bacile said.
At dawn Sunday, John Bacile looked down with a blank stare in front of his home where the 5-year-old slipped out of his sight Saturday night.
At about 8 a.m. Sunday, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office got a call that Kailin Bacile’s body was seen floating in a waterway between two houses on Goodwood Terrace — just one street over from where she went missing the night before.
“It’s surmised that she left the residence and she went on her normal route, went back there to the body of water,” said Pete Palenzuela of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. “She probably fell in or went in pretty quickly.”
Palm Beach County deputies spent more than 14 hours searching for the autistic girl by foot, on ATVs, with bloodhounds, in a helicopter and with a dive team.
“She’s very loving, very affectionate,” John Bacile said. “She will embrace people, come up to people.”
But Kaitlin Bacile didn’t hear anyone’s call. Police said they believe she fell into the waterway fairly soon after she left home and was dragged under for a while.
“Those waters are very murky and Kaitlin’s very small, so she could have been anywhere in that lake,” Palenzuela said.
Hoards of neighbors, including Alice Moliki, helped look into every car, garage and shrub trying to find the girl. She said the news of Kaitlin Bacile’s death devastates her.
“I can’t imagine losing a child,” she said. “I would be crazy.”
The family was too upset to talk, while friends wrapped each other in hugs outside of the Bacile home.
It’s the same house that’s been sold and where the family was ready to move out of state from next week.
John Bacile adopted Kaitlin and her 6-year-old biological brother.
Police said they’re grateful for all of the community support they received during the overnight search.