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Missing 10-year-old Baraboo girl found dead, police say
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Missing 10-year-old Baraboo girl found dead, police say

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Kodie B. Dutcher

Dutcher

A search team found the body of a missing 10-year-old Baraboo girl at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Lt. Ryan La Broscian of the Baraboo Police Department said the team found Kodie Dutcher dead in the area of 11th Street and Taft Avenue in Baraboo

“Our focus now will shift to investigating Kodie’s death,” La Broscian said. “We want to thank every agency and all the volunteers that responded or offered assistance with this situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kodie’s family in this extremely difficult time.”

He didn’t know how many people had volunteered to search for Kodie, but said there were “a lot.” The teams were being recalled from the field shortly before noon and would be informed of her death upon their return to the staging area, La Broscian said.

An Amber Alert issued Monday said Kodie was suspected of having taken an unknown amount of pills and may be suicidal. She left behind her cellphone and shoes. In a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, La Broscian said a search of her residence found a note threatening self-harm.

Her immediate family moved to Baraboo from out of state in April and her extended family moved here about a year ago, “so they don’t know a lot of people here,” he said. “The mom expressed that her daughter was happy here. However, due to COVID-19, she was only in school approximately two weeks so really not a long time to establish friends in the area.”

Kodie’s mother told investigators the girl hadn’t shown any recent signs of self-harm, La Broscian said. Her mother also had “very tight control” over her use of social media, he said, and authorities found “nothing out of the ordinary” in her posts. They didn’t find any posts to social media after she went missing.

Kodie had last been seen around the 1100 block of 12th Street, according to the Baraboo Police Department.

Baraboo Police searched the area around the residence on Monday, and the Baraboo Fire Department and Wisconsin Dells K-9 unit expanded the search area on foot, according to a news release posted to the police department's Facebook page around 10 a.m. Tuesday. It said drone teams from the Sauk County Sheriff’s Office and Middleton Fire Department also helped with the search overnight.

During the night search, drones scanned the area for heat signatures, finding only a couple of deer and rocks that had been heated by the sun that day, La Broscian said. He said the drones can’t necessarily see into heavily wooded areas, which is why volunteers were needed to search those areas on foot.

He said he was concerned about heat with both the volunteer search parties and Kodie, adding that that’s why authorities hadn’t stopped searching for her since they started the investigation Monday.

When asked about rumors that a suspicious person was trying to entice girls into a van, La Broscian said authorities had investigated every lead and found “no information that that actually happened.”

Follow Susan Endres on Twitter @EndresSusan or call her at 745-3506.

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