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Authorities identify 9-year-old girl who drowned at Buffalo River State Park

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The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said in a Thursday, June 28, news release that the victim was Grace Elizabeth Bettie, of Moorhead.

The release said when deputies arrived, personnel on scene were performing CPR on Bettie. Their lifesaving efforts were not successful.

At this time, the family has requested privacy as they go through the grieving process.

The city of Moorhead is offering condolences and grief counseling, according to a release issued Thursday. The child was participating in the Moorhead Police Summer Youth Program and was a student at Ellen Hopkins Elementary.

Moorhead Area Public Schools issued a statement on Thursday and guidelines to help children adjust to loss and grief.

“This will be a time of grieving for staff, students and families. Moorhead Area Public Schools and Ellen Hopkins Elementary are reaching out to support the family, staff and students during this difficult time,” the statement read. “As a school district, our thoughts are with the family, and we continue to support our students and staff.”

In the tragic aftermath, the city was informed that Ellen Hopkins would be offering grief counseling in Conference Room from 10 a.m. to noon Friday, June 29, for students and staff dealing with the sudden loss. The city also arranged grief counseling services for Summer Youth Program mentors who participated in Wednesday’s program activities who were responding to the incident.

“We are deeply saddened and ask the community for their emotional support for all those affected by this tragedy,” the city said Thursday.

Emergency responders were called to the swimming area around 4 p.m. Wednesday on a report of a child who had been pulled from the water and was unconscious and not breathing.

A person who was at the sandy beach at the time of the incident told The Forum there were “a multitude of children” there, and a Clay County deputy said several lifeguards were on duty at the time.

An investigation is still underway by the Clay County Sheriff’s Department with cooperation from the Moorhead Police Department.

The school district said to send any cards or thoughts of support to Ellen Hopkins Elementary School and they will be delivered to the family.

Those concerned about a child can call the Mobile Mental Health Crisis Response at 1-800-223-4512.

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