By Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
ST. PETER, Minn. — A man hunting in St. Peter, Minneapolis, made a surprising discovery Saturday.
KARE reported that Nathan Stoffel, 28, heard about the search for Mya Ann Arriaga, a 12-year-old girl with special needs who doesn’t speak.
The volunteer firefighter heard the girl was missing and that there was a search party looking for the girl who had been missing since Friday.
Stoffell said something above the Minnesota River on a branch caught his attention. It was Mya clinging to the branch above the water.
“I knew right away that (she) shouldn’t be there,” Stoffel told KMSP. “That’s something out of the ordinary.”
Stoffell said Mya moved one of her arms as he called 911. He threw a line to her, but since Mya has autism and does not speak, she didn’t react much.
“She never really made eye contact with me and I was like, ‘Help is here. It’s on the way!’ She was shivering and that’s when she turned her head and looked at me and it sent chills down my spine,” Stoffel said.
Help arrived and Mya was airlifted to a hospital, but Stoffel told the St. Peter Herald that it was a group effort to find her.
Mya’s mother, Katrina Arriaga issued a statement saying she was “relieved” her daughter was found.
“Our family would like to thank the community for their thoughts and prayers, and requests privacy at this difficult time,” she said.
Mya is listed in fair condition.
“It really is amazing,” St. Peter Police Chief Matt Peters said. “Especially considering how long she was out in the elements.”