Crews that found missing 3-year-old speak about emotional search

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) - First responders throughout the Wythe County area helped search for 3-year-old Josie Burleson Tuesday night. They hoped for a happy ending, but instead found the little girl’s body in the New River.

Sgt. Adam Keene with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries was walking with his team along the banks of the river when they saw something red in the water.

"At first we didn't realize what it was, and then we were able to get a boat and confirm it was Josie," Keene said.

Keene and his team had been working the scene for 5 hours when they confirmed the little girl was dead.

"It's obviously emotional to find any person in that state even more with a child," Keene said

Keene is a father himself and said even though he never met Josie, he feels connected to the three-year-old.

"Going into a situation like this we don't know her but once we get on scene we start learning about her, learning her name and stuff and we get connected. And then we do find her in that situation it does affect us," he said.

No matter how many times they respond to a tragedy, it never really gets any easier.

"It still affects everyone differently and it's healthy to talk about it and mourn and grieve as well," Keene said.