Local officials stopped looking, calling off the search for little Patrauna Hudson about 6 p.m. on Monday night, a day after the girl was swept away by floodwaters in Yazoo City, Miss.
However, 14 young men refused to stop looking, MSNewsNow reports.
About an hour later, they found her in a drainage canal. Unfortunately, Patrauna had not survived, but local officials are formally thanking the determined group for finding her body.
“They stepped in in the role of community leaders, and, like I said, even though it doesn’t matter who found her, she was found,” Emergency Management Director Joey Ward told the news site. “Without them, she may have still been undiscovered, and that’s what we’re just so thankful for.”
The 14 men, who are being called “heroes,” simply saw their extended search as the right thing to do.
“I had to go out and help to have the mama to have some peace in her life,” Bryson Young, one of the young men responsible for finding Patrauna, told the news site.
“We just didn’t give up, we didn’t give up. I stumbled on something heavy in the water, then I used a pipe to pick the body up in the water,” said Robbie Green, another member of the search party.
Patrauna’s body was found about a mile from where she disappeared on Sunday night, MSNewsNow notes. The area where she was found, behind an apartment complex, had been searched earlier, but officials said the water was about nine feet deep at that time. When the young men discovered her, the water had receded greatly.
A coroner confirmed that Patrauna had drowned.
Funeral arrangements are being made, although investigators say that the family does not have the money to bury the little girl.