Jade Briggs pictured here from a day at Kings Island. (Contributed)

Makeshift memorial builds for Montezuma girl

UPDATE @ 1:39 p.m. July 25

A makeshift memorial is building on a dock at Grand Lake St. Marys where a special needs 10-year-old girl drowned on Saturday.

Despite the large effort among public safety personnel to find Jade Riggs, who wandered away from her home in the Kozy Kampground, Jade’s body was found in a channel connected to the lake.

Family members told authorities they thought she might go to water where she liked to throw stones.

Grandmother Melinda Gambill has cared for Jade, her twin sister and younger sister because the parents are deceased. Gambill said she appreciated all the efforts by police, firefighters, and others to find her granddaughter.

An effort is underway at the campground to raise money for the family’s funeral expenses.

UPDATE @ 3:36 p.m. July 23

Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey issued a release this afternoon stating that a 10-year-old child who went missing this morning was found deceased in a channel of water at Grand Lake St. Marys.

More than 90 public safety officers, including police and firefighters from several area jurisdictions, assisted this morning in the search for 10-year-old Jade Riggs.

Jade was last seen around 5:30 a.m. when her grandfather went to work, according to the sheriff’s release. Her body was found in a nearby channel of water by firefighters at approximately 1:56 p.m., according to the sheriff’s release.

The girl liked to throw stones in water, and it is believed she wandered away from home and went to the water where she apparently fell in and drowned, according to the sheriff’s office.

The search for the child began at 7:34 a.m. and Montezuma Fire Chief Ron Schulze requested assistance from crews in surrounding communities. Other agencies assisted in the search, including the sheriff’s offices of Mercer and Auglaize counties, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft, and the Lutheran Air Ambulance helicopter.

Chief Schulze said in a prepared statement: “Although we would have preferred a different outcome, we appreciate the support of the public when we ask them to stay away and let us do our job.”

A friend of the family tells us Jade, who suffered from seizures and other maladies, is survived by her grandparents, a twin sister and a younger sister.


We’re working to learn more about a 10-year-old child who is reported missing in the village of Montezuma, Mercer County.

Searches were underway in the area of Ohio 703, according to initial reports.

We will bring you more information when it becomes available.

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