Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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DA’s office identifies girl who drowned

The body has been identified as that of Abigail Luker, 5, of La Mesa, Calif., according to the Northwestern district attorney’s office. Luker, the youngest member of her family, was in town for a family gathering July 6. The family was gathered at a private residence on Cove Island Road to watch a fireworks display.

Eyewitnesses saw the fall in the space between the end of the dock and a moored boat shortly after 9 p.m. Adults dived in to rescue her, but were unable to find her. Police were summoned with a 911 call around 9:15 p.m.

Searchers arrived at the scene at around 9:20 p.m. and immediately jumped into the water in hopes of rescuing her, said South Hadley Fire Capt. James Pula, who is in charge of the department’s dive team. Divers were unable to locate her due to high water, swift currents and low visibility.

The search continued each day after the Luker’s disappearance. Along with the South Hadley Fire Department and other local authorities, the state police dive team, marine section, air wing, and K-9 section participated in the search using sonar.

Luker’s body was discovered July 10 after authorities had ended their search for the day due to impending storms, Pula said. Her body was found approximately 500 yards downstream from where she fell.

The Northwestern district attorney’s office characterized Luker’s death as a “tragic accident” and said it does not suspect foul play.

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