Man Pulled Over by Cops, Panics and Drives into River with Daughter, 2, Who's Still Missing

Police are searching for the body of a 2-year-old girl who went missing after her father drove into a river with the child on his lap, officials say.

A Kansas man was driving with his daughter Wednesday when the child’s mother alerted the Leon Police Department that her boyfriend was possibly intoxicated, NBC News reported.

Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet told reporters that the girl’s mother was informed that her boyfriend was allegedly seen purchasing alcohol after picking up their 2-year-old from daycare.

“She tried to call him to bring the child home, and he said, ‘No. Don’t worry about me and the child, we’ll be fine,’ ” the sheriff told NBC News. “She got worried about that.”

Around 6:45 p.m. local time the Leon Police Department located the man and the child in a Chevy pickup in a field by the Walnut River, local station KWCH reported. The child was sitting on his lap and did not have a child-safety seat.

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“He was being peaceful and communicating and talking to him. The child was fine at the time and when they told him that they were gonna have to take the child,” Herzet told NBC-affiliate KSN.

The father, 44, who reportedly seemed intoxicated, panicked after the police approached him and drove off into the river, according to KWCH.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.

After 90 minutes, the man’s body — which was stuck inside the submerged car — was recovered from the river, NBC reported.

Recovery efforts for the young girl continued Thursday morning, however, as of Friday, she is still missing, the sheriff told the outlet.

“It’s tragic for this community of Leon for the fact they know the mother, they know the father,” Herzet said. “The mother grew up in this town. And they had this child together. It’s a sad day in Butler County and in Leon today.”

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