JOHNSON LAKE — A 3-year-old girl drowned Wednesday evening after falling into Johnson Lake without a life jacket.
Avery Grace Mendiola was riding a flotation toy, without a life jacket, when it drifted out of the swim beach area near Medo’s Resort. Witnesses told members of the Gosper County Sheriff’s Office the toy had flipped over and Mendiola fell in the water.
At 5:58 p.m. Wednesday, the Lexington Volunteer Fire Department dive team was dispatched to the Medo’s Resort area of Johnson Lake on a report of an unattended 3-year-old girl who had flipped off a flotation device and was not wearing a life jacket.
A watercraft with drag capabilities was also requested.
Gosper County Sheriff Dennis Ocken said the search was called off about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday but resumed at 6:30 a.m. Thursday.
About 7:30 a.m., Ocken was notified the body had been recovered in the Kirby Point area, northwest of where the child had fallen in the water. Ocken said an autopsy will be conducted.
Reynolds Love Funeral Home and Gosper County Attorney Beverly Louthan arrived on scene about 8:15 a.m.
The identity of the child was withheld pending the notification of kin.
The Gosper County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Elwood Fire and Rescue, the Nebraska State Patrol and the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office.