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Investigators in Texas are searching for answers after the bodies of three young girls — Zi’ariel Oliver, 9, Amiyah Hughes, 8, and Temari Oliver, 5 — were found dead in a pond near their home.
According to local station KSLA, the children were reported missing at around 10 p.m. on Friday.
Agencies including Texas Parks and Wildlife, Cass County Sheriff’s Office, and volunteer firefighters responded to the scene. Just hours later, all three bodies were recovered on a private pond near Highway 77.
“We located items of clothing around a pond and in a pond,” Texas Game Warden Shawn Hervey reportedly said, per Law & Crime. “So, we centered the search around that small body of water, and with the use of divers we were able to recover three victims at approximately 2 a.m. this morning.”
“A pair of shoes was found at the edge of the pond, leading investigators to search the water,” Cass County Sheriff Larry Rowe said, according to The Texarkana Gazette.
The girls were reported missing by a friend of their mother, who was watching the children and their siblings while their mother was at work.
The children’s bodies have been sent for autopsies. According to Rowe, authorities “have no idea what the girls were doing there,” and “nobody has been accused of anything” at this time.
Whether or not the girls frequently played in or near the pond is unclear, as is whether or not the girls were swimmers.
“None of them had lifejackets on, so I don’t know how strong of swimmers they were or if they were swimmers at all,” Lieutenant Game Warden Jason Jones said, according to KTAL.