Sand-dominated Wisconsin River makes recovering 5-year-old’s body difficult

Sand-dominated Wisconsin River makes recovering 5-year-old’s body difficult
Angela Girton’s grandfather Harry Christianson

One month after Angela Girton’s presumed drowning, the river’s unpredictable currents and fast-moving, obstructing sand are making finding her body a daunting job for crews.

Girton reportedly fell into the Wisconsin River after a babysitter let the 5-year-old, her sister and another child go down to the river near Gotham unsupervised.

“The sand’s piling up in different places, and can bury in a scale of tens of feet from month to month,” state geologist Eric Carson said. “Because the (water) eddies and the flows are not at all predictable they change so frequently, that it would be very difficult for searchers to predict where she might have gone.”

Richland County crews have been out searching since the April 6 drowning. Authorities remain convinced Girton drowned because of the consistency in the stories from the other children, including her sister’s story about trying to save her with tree branches.

Because of the Wisconsin River’s sand, Girton’s grandfather, Harry Christianson, realizes it could take a long time to find her.

“That river down there is very unpredictable. That sand barge down there is like snow drifts,” Christianson said. “And who knows. She might be in a sand barge.”

One month after his granddaughter’s presumed drowning, Christianson feels crews near Gotham are doing all they can.

“Right now I don’t know where she’s at. It’d be nice to know where she’s at,” Christianson said. “We just need closure. That’s all we need. That’s all we want. Try to find her.”