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Northfield police search for missing 6-year-old girl

Police say they have reason to believe that the girl's mother may have been involved in the 6-year-old's disappearance.

NORTHFIELD, Minn — The Rice County Sheriff's Office took to social media on Sunday to ask for the public's help in locating 6-year-old Elle Ragin of Northfield.

Ragin is about 3'6" tall, weighs roughly 45 pounds, and has brown hair and brown eyes, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

The sheriff's office says Northfield police were called to an apartment on the 600 block of Maple Brook Court at about 11:50 a.m. Saturday and found the body of Elle's 39-year-old mother, who is presumed to have taken her own life.

Police now believe that Elle's mother may have been involved in her disappearance before she died, according to the Rice County Sheriff's Office — a detail authorities have been unable to extrapolate on, pending an active investigation.

On July 5, the Stearns County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that the office's dive team is helping in the search for Elle in a park near Rice. Officials added that the Mississippi River County Park, which is more than 100 miles away from where the 6-year-old lived with her mother, will be closed to the public until further notice. Similar searches took place in that area on July 3 and 4, the statement said.

When commenting on why an Amber Alert had not been issued, Northfield Police Chief Mark Elliott specified that his department did not have the requisite information on any particular suspect or vehicle to issue such a notification to the public — but mentioned a missing and endangered alert had been widely distributed among law enforcement and within the community itself.

"All of us have seen Amber Alerts, and we're familiar that [this] information comes out when there is an abduction, and it usually has information regarding a suspect or a vehicle, and we have neither of those at this time — and that's why that Amber Alert was not used," Chief Elliott said. 

Ragin is a student at Prairie Creek Community School, who along with authorities and Northfield Public Schools, is urging anyone with information regarding this case to contact the Northfield Police Department at 507-645-4477.

“We are all waiting and hoping for good news,” said Prairie Creek Community School Executive Director Simon Tyler.

Northfield Public Schools issued the following statement on Sunday to families and staff:

Dear Northfield Public Schools families and staff:

I write this morning with some difficult news. The Northfield Police Department (NPD) is asking for the community’s help in locating 6-year-old Elle Ragin, who is a student at Prairie Creek Community School and is missing. I am also saddened to share that Elle’s mom, Lisa Wade, was found dead of an apparent suicide, according to NPD.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting with this investigation. NPD is asking anyone who saw Ms. Wade or Elle Ragin in the past two weeks to contact them at (507) 645-4477.

Situations like this one impact our entire community. I have been in contact with the Prairie Creek administration and will continue to offer our district’s support. Again, please contact NPD if you have any information about this situation.

Please hold this family and the Prairie Creek school community in your hearts at this time.

This is a developing story. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

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