Body of missing 11-year-old girl found in pond near Riverview school

RIVERVIEW, Fla. - A body found in a pond near a Riverview school Monday evening has been identified as 11-year-old Jennifer Caballero .

Authorities say she had Down syndrome and went missing early Monday afternoon.

Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee made the announcement at a 6:45 p.m. news conference.

"They are all doing as well as they can," said Gee while choking back tears.

Gee said divers found the girl as they searched a second retention pond near Rodgers Middle School on Tucker Road.

The body was out in the deeper area of the pond, Gee said.  The pond, according to Gee, is surrounded by a four-foot fence.

She was reported missing around 1:00 p.m. 

K9 units, aviation and divers immediately began searching for the girl.

Deputies said teachers noticed Caballero had been acting strangely and decided to keep a watchful on her. 

In less than two hours, the 11-year-old was able to run out a gymnasium door unnoticed.

At the time, six aides were watching Caballero, along with 19 other students.

"How do you let a handicapped, Down Syndrome little girl that basically don't speak, how do you let her walk out of a school?" asked the girl's longtime neighbor Heather Boffo.

It is a question many want answered.

"I've been talking with the staff, the principals," said Hillsborough County School District Superintendent Mary Ellen Elia.

"They will be cooperating fully in this investigation. We need to have that answer.  It is a very critical question."

Some parents who participated in the search are outraged at the district and want answers.

"I am afraid now thinking 'if they go to school what is going to happen next?'" questioned a woman who is a parent of a special needs student.

Gee said divers will be back Tuesday morning to search the retention pond again.  Also, crisis counselors will be on hand for students and staff.

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