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Missing 6-year-old Palm Beach County girl with autism pronounced dead, body found in water

Body of Aleenah Fenelus found behind townhouse complex near West Palm Beach, sheriff's office says
Aleenah Fenelus.jpg
Posted at 8:52 PM, Jan 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-11 08:15:53-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A missing 6-year-old girl who had autism and was non-verbal was tragically pronounced dead after her body was found in a body of water near West Palm Beach on Tuesday night, authorities said.

Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, said the body of Aleenah Fenelus was found about two hours after she was last seen at 7:15 p.m. in the 3600 block of Timberline Drive in a townhouse complex.

Barbera said that after an exhaustive search using deputies, a search and rescue K9, and a sheriff's office helicopter, Fenelus' body was found in a body of water behind the complex.

Fenelus was taken to a local hospital, where she was tragically pronounced dead.

The sheriff's office said Fenelus had autism and was non-verbal.

"It was bath time," Fenelus' mother, Farah, told WPTV on Tuesday night. "I went to get her PJs. By the time I put her PJs on the bed, she vanished. I looked all over the house. She wasn't there. So I checked the back and I noticed she pushed the door open and left the house."

Fenelus had never done that before, according to her mother.