Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

September 8, 2013

UPDATE: Still no leads in search for missing girl

(Continued)

WATSON —

Off-duty sheriff's deputy Matt Dammerman said the walkers were instructed to proceed about an arm-length apart from one another.

"That will enable us to cover every inch of the field," Dammerman said.

After fanning out along a passageway between the two fields, searchers combed the south field in the early morning hours. By noon, the group was in the north field directly behind the Baptist church.

Dammerman said morale was good despite the daunting task of finding a second-grader less than four feet tall in what has become an 18-square mile search perimeter centered on the village of Watson. The village itself is about four square miles.

Willow had just started the second grade at South Side School in Effingham, authorities said.

That means most of the search area is rural terrain. While some of it is covered with maturing corn and beans, other parts of it are too rugged for even an all-terrain vehicle.

A group of horsemen were called in Monday to assist, including horseman Kevin Zerrusen of the Green Creek community north of Effingham.

"We can get to a lot of places that even four-wheelers can't," Zerrusen said. "We're up higher than the other searchers, and we can cover a lot of ground."

Chief Matt Kulesza of the Watson Fire Protection District said the search area included wide variations in terrain.

"We're looking at four square miles that is the village," Kulesza said. "The rest of it is rural, with some pretty steep hills and gullies."

Kulesza said the search area also includes some larger creeks that a girl Long's size would not be able to cross.

Acting Chief Deputy John Niccum of the Effingham County Sheriff's Department said there continues to be no evidence of foul play in connection with Long's disappearance. It is for that reason that authorities have declined to issue an Amber Alert.

Text Only
Local News
  • Complex support divides council All indications at Tuesday’s special meeting of the Effingham City Council indicates Effingham Park District will not get the $1 million it is asking for to help build the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center.In fact, Mayor Merv Gillenwater

    July 30, 2014

  • Correction It was incorrectly reported in Saturday’s Effingham Daily News that federal sex crime suspect Nathan Maphis was at large. Maphis is being held in Madison County Jail. The newspaper erred. Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at bill.

    July 30, 2014

  • tony- community garden 2 Learning and growing together The installation of a Effingham Community Garden sign marks the growing success of a common place for Effingham residents to cultivate plants and produce.“We have 23 large plots and two small plots out here this year,” said University of Illinois Mas

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-30 kitchen fire pic Kitchen fire damages home An unattended kitchen stove led to a full-still fire call at 507 Park Hills Drive Tuesday afternoon.A passerby made a 911 call and reported visible smoke from the eaves of the home at 1:16 p.m. Arriving on scene, Effingham firefighters entered the ho

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man fatally shot in Pana standoff, officer wounded

    Illinois State Police(ISP) and Christian County Sheriff's Office are investigating a shooting that occurred on Tuesday, July 29, in rural Christian County that involved ISP SWAT, a Pana Police officer and an armed offender.

    July 29, 2014

  • City to determine contribution A request by Effingham Park District representatives for a million dollars to help construct the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center is being considered at a special Effingham City Council meeting this evening.Some commissioners questioned

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-29 Filming PRIMARY Effingham grad returns to make film Travis Long says he learned a lot from directing his first full-length feature several years ago.“Kill Me Now was a learning experience, both in shooting and distribution,” the 1998 Effingham High School graduate said.With a full production crew and

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • McCarter.jpg Some lawmakers donate pay

    Illinois lawmakers restoring their pay after years of furlough days has prompted some state representatives to give back to their communities — a move some local lawmakers call a political one.

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • Distance learning catching on in area

    In what appears to be a growing trend among rural school districts, a third area school district may join an existing academic cooperative.

    July 27, 2014

  • Joshua Robison.jpg Opinion: God doesn't care about party affiliation

    Reflecting on what we politely refer to in this country as “political discourse,” I am often struck by how convinced many people seem to be that their sides' specific policies and personalities are the only way to save us all from utter ruin.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.