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August 15, 2021

STPSO Recovers Body of Missing Special Needs Child

Avani Cook, a 10 year-old special needs child, was reported missing by her mother shortly after 2:30 PM Saturday (August 14, 2021). Avani was playing outside her residence in the 25000 block of North Davis Road north of Covington with her mother and dog. Her mother stepped inside for a moment and when she returned, the dog was there but Avani was missing. Avani was reported to be non-verbal and to suffer from medical conditions that may inhibit her ability to get around. 

More than 15 St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputies began searching on foot and ATV, assisted by STPSO K9 deputies.  

At approximately 7:30 PM Saturday (August 14, 2021), St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputies with the Special Operation Division recovered the body of Avani. She was located in a nearby pond.

The preliminary investigation indicates, for unknown reasons, the 10 year old walked to the area of the pond and entered it before drowning. The St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office responded to the scene and is conducting an investigation, along with Investigators of the Major Crimes Division, into the circumstances surrounding the drowning. At this time, there is no evidence to indicate that this tragic incident is anything other than that. 

“This is a horrible tragedy and my sincere condolences and sympathy goes to the family of the young girl lost, and for everyone who was involved with doing all they could to locate her safely. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and the loss of a young precious life affects our entire community. We will all continue to pray that God provides comfort for the family,” Sheriff Randy Smith said in response to the tragic drowning. 

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