Body of missing 7-year-old Lowell girl found in Merrimack River

LOWELL, Mass. — The body of a 7-year-old girl who vanished from the driveway of her Lowell home over the weekend was found Monday in the Merrimack River in Tewksbury, law enforcement officials said.

Anna Mburu, who had autism and was nonverbal, was discovered dead about 15 to 20 feet from the shore in about eight feet of water near Trull Brook Golf Course around 12 p.m., nearly 24 hours after state and local police launched a massive search, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan.

A Massachusetts Environmental Police boat equipped with side-scan sonar spotted an image in the river that appeared to be a person and divers later recovered Anna’s body.

Ryan noted that foul play is not suspected in Anna’s death.

“The child’s body didn’t have any obvious signs of trauma,” Ryan said. “Anna’s family is now dealing with an unimaginable loss.”

Lowell police said Anna was last seen in the driveway of her East Merrimack Street home in the Belvedere neighborhood between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Neighbors, teachers, and other community members took to the streets, blowing bubbles and calling out desperately for Anna before the sun went down Sunday evening.

“We had literally hundreds of people come out. People were out with flashlights checking their property and checking the property of those who might be away,” Ryan said.

The desperate search efforts resumed Monday morning with bikes, four-wheelers, K9 units, and a drone.

Ryan had urged residents of Lowell and Tewksbury, in particular those who live in the areas of East Merrimack Street and River Road, to review surveillance video and search their backyards, sheds, and boats.

“She’s one of four children but every child is special,” said neighborhood resident Deborah Agrella said of Anna. “We’re all devastated.”

Officials had expressed hope that Anna got lost or fell asleep somewhere outside.

The state medical examiner’s office is working to determine an official cause of death.

An investigation into her disappearance remains ongoing.

Officials are encouraging family members who are concerned about a high-risk loved one who may wander from safe environments to call Lowell Police about their Project Lifesaver and Safe Watch Program.

“This program helps law enforcement and public safety agencies to implement locative technologies to track missing individuals and aids in partnerships with nonprofit organizations to develop or operate programs to prevent wandering, increase individuals’ safety, and facilitate rescues,” according to Ryan.

For more information contact: 978-674-1869 or email: rrichard@lowellma.gov.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW