‘Difficult to get good visibility’: Search for missing girl in Mitchell hits one week mark

Members of the West Perth Fire Department combined their efforts with members of Perth East and North Perth on Sunday to search for a 10-year-old girl last seen at Whirl Creek in Mitchell a week ago.

The crews searched from Road 155 to Frank St. while dealing with blowing snow.

“With the amount of slash building up in the water, It’s making it difficult to get good visibility,” said James Marshall, a fire prevention officer with the West Perth Fire Department.

After seven days of searching, Marshall said the department plans to continue its efforts, but crews may need to stop to deal with other emergencies.

“Our hopes and goal is to certainly bring closure to the family as soon as we can,” he said. “Anything other than that, would just be guessing as to what our next steps will be.”

The West Perth Fire Department does have enough firefighters to continue searching, but many are volunteers, and will return to their regular full-time jobs soon.

“With that, we’re hoping to be able to transition other departments in to assist and to kind of back fill with our firefighters,” said Marshall.

The fire prevention officer believes with a continued emphasis on the search, crews will be successful soon. The search will summarize Monday morning with both a ground and water team expected.


A collection of teddy bears have been tied to a bridge over Whirl Creek as a sign of support from the community.

Mitchell resident Joe Staffen said he added his late mother’s teddy bear to the display after seeing others on his way to work.

He hopes it can bring a sense of healing to the family of the missing girl.

“It brought a tear to my eye,” said Staffen. “So when I got home I grabbed the teddy bear. I brought it down and I placed it down here, the first day they started. As I was down here, somebody else comes down, they placed a teddy bear. Then soon after that another teddy bear came down.”

According to Staffen, the collection seems to grow every time he passes the bridge.

“The whole town, we’re pretty sad,” said Staffen. “I just really hope they find her soon.”

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