Autistic Girl Found Clinging to Tree in NW Iowa River

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By Aaron Hepker

SPENCER, Iowa (AP) — An autistic girl has been rescued after she was found clinging to a tree in the Little Sioux River.

Eleven-year-old McKenzie Stevens was reported missing from her home in Spencer about 7 Saturday morning.

KITV-TV reports search crews tracked her to the river, about six blocks from her home. The girl's clothes were found on a trail and her footprints led to the water.

The girl was found clinging to a tree six miles downstream about five hours after she went missing. Authorities believe she was in the water for three hours.

Spencer Police Chief Mark Lawson says Stevens doesn't usually talk much but she did thank her rescuers for saving her.

Stevens was taken to a hospital and was later released.

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