Local News

Body of missing Harnett girl found

Posted April 4, 2009
Updated April 6, 2009

— The body of missing 6-year-old Ca'zhia McMillian was found Saturday afternoon in the Lower Little River, according to Maj. Gary McNeill of the Harnett County Sheriff's Office.

Ca'zhia was playing with a friend on March 24 on the banks of the river when she apparently fell into the water. The first-grader at Anderson Creek Primary School hadn't been seen since.

McNeill said a search boat located the body around 1:22 p.m. The child was found about a mile from where she fell in the river. Family members said Ca'zhia did not know how to swim.

"Everything indicates that this accident occurred just as it was reported by the witness," McNeill said in a release.

An autopsy was pending, McNeill said.

Body of missing Harnett girl found Missing Harnett girl found dead

Family members remembered Ca’zhia on Saturday as a happy child.

“She loved everybody,” Ca’zhia’s grandmother, Eradene Cherry, said. "She loved everybody. She didn't meet no strangers."

County personnel and the state Highway Patrol had searched the area daily since Ca'zhia's disappearance.

Last weekend, crews suspended their search of the Lower Little River after recent rainfalls made a search by divers unsafe. At the time, Ca'zhia's mother, Sharonda McNeill, said she was frustrated with the suspended search. She declined to speak Saturday.

Some family members said they remained frustrated over the search for the child.

“If she was that close, why did it take so long for them to find her? But I understand they were doing their best,” Cherry said.

Funeral arrangements were pending.


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  • ambidextrous cat Apr 7, 2009

    I think that some commentators are missing the point here. She could not swim! If she had known how the swim she might have lived. I hope that officials will push to offer cheaper lessons to parents who can not afford them.

  • question_why Apr 7, 2009

    When the mother said "I just don’t know why it took them 10 days to find her,” I don't think this showed a lack of gratitude but rather a good question. I'm sure the searchers had looked as far (if not further) as a mile from the spot of entry. There is a good answer why it took 10 days to find the body and we are not being told. When I was reading the story, the exact same thoughts when thru my head...why 10 days for a mile away? The mothers question should not be related to any lack of appreciation for all that was done but she should be given an answer why it took so long (more than likely, the local rains shifted items in the river).

  • mikenjennifer Apr 6, 2009

    My thoughts and prayers go out to this family. I am very familiar with this neighborhood and it is a lovely place and that river has very strongs currents at time. The family needs to stick together and do not blame the searchers because it took so long. They are only human. Just be happy they spent time looking for her...

  • familyfour Apr 6, 2009

    "if you watch your kids 24/7, they will have a sheltered life" ........

    maybe so, but they will have a LIFE, which is more than this little one has now.....


  • Love-Me-Or-Hate-Me Apr 6, 2009


  • tracyallen Apr 6, 2009

    Unbelievable. People spend 10 days looking for a child's BODY for the family - when they didn't even take the time to look for her or tend to her when she was alive, and they have the nerve to gripe about people spending 10 days in freezing cold weather trying to HELP?

    It is sad that the little girl is dead - no question about that - but their attitude about the search stinks.

  • redngreedys10 Apr 6, 2009

    "1st the mother never let her daughter play by the river. She didnt know the river was that close to the houses. Her friend took her down there. I guess think it was fine because her mother let her go down there before. You cant just point the finger a one parent. They both weren't watching the kids. It just so happen only one child fell in. I want to thank the group of volunteers that did there on cizten search Saturday."

    Who didn't know the river was there? Come on, I live a few houses down from where she fell in. If you live in Tradewinds and do not know the river is back there, something is wrong with you.

    I really wish the news, weather it be WRAL or others, got their stories straight. I _could_ go into great detail about some of the things that went on, but I'm sure they will come out at the end of all of this.

    "if you watch your kids 24/7, they will have a sheltered life" Really? Would you allow your kids of that age, play by a furious river?

  • stupiditydeservesnosympathy Apr 6, 2009

    "sentramom... What in the world!!! Are you serious??? So I guess you have never been late picking up your child or never made a mistake where something BAD could have happened to your kids???

    --- Yes I have been late picking up my child- that has nothing to do with the fact this woman was irresponsible and ungrateful. She should has made sure a responsible adult was watching her child if she wasn't there. It called being a parent. Clearly, the child was not being watched.

    What was 20-30 yrs ago is different from today. Parents need to keep an eye on their kids. 6 yr olds have no business wondering around bodies of water. Parents are responsible for their kids safety and this mother or the caretaker needs to be held accoutable for this child's needless death. Doing that send a message to the community to make sure they take care of their kids.

  • 007KnightRider Apr 6, 2009

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  • MellowMelnJC Apr 6, 2009

    Ca’zhia’s body was taken to Chapel Hill for autopsy, which is standard procedure. Ca’Zhia’s mother, Sharonda McNeill, had been critical of the search, saying not enough was being done and rescuers were not keeping family members updated regularly. “I appreciate what they did and all the people who came out to help but I just don’t know why it took them 10 days to find her,” she said...I got this off 1270wmpm.com

    It sure doesn't sound like she appreciated what has done for her...

    To the people that took thier time to search for this little girl...THANK YOU!!