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'We just want to bring Emma home': Crews searching for missing 2-year-old in Bartholomew County

Coat believed to be Emma's located
search for emma sweet.jpg
Posted at 5:43 PM, Nov 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-27 17:43:10-05

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY — The Bartholomew County Sheriff's Office said finding what they believe to be Emma Sweet's coat Saturday was key in the investigation into her disappearance.

They weren't able to locate her but will be back out Sunday morning and won't stop searching until she's found.

Crews have been looking for Sweet, 2, after her father was found in a truck submerged in the White River. Sweet hasn't been seen since noon Wednesday.

"We just want to bring Emma home to her family," Bartholomew County Sheriff Matthew Myers said. "After talking with the family, I think they know it's going to be more of recovering a body. I think they understand that."

All hands were on deck as investigators searched for her.

What's believed to be her creme coat with butterflies on it was found Saturday morning with the help of citizens also looking for her.

"It was submerged under the water," John Grider said. "Hung up on a tree. We searched the curves of the river all morning. We went over a bunch of trees jammed up and I seen something white in the water and I asked these guys [investigators] to come over and confirm what it was, and it was her jacket."

Grider says he called 911.

"And they sent the airboat down with the fire department and confirmed it was the little girl's jacket," Grider said.

39-year-old Jeremy Sweet was found semi-conscious submerged in his truck Friday by two duck hunters.

He was taken to the hospital and is being treated for hypothermia.

His stories explaining where Emma was, didn't add up, Meyers said.

"So, there is three stories now and none of them match," Myers said.

Myers said first Jeremy told investigators he dropped Emma off.

Then, investigators said he changed his story to placing her on the hood of his vehicle and taking her coat off because it was wet.

Saturday, the sheriff said Jeremy claimed Emma was with him while in the water.

When asked by WRTV if he said why they were out there or did he indicate if this was an accident the sheriff said, "we weren't able to get into a lot of details with him at this point. The questions were like look where did you last see her? And that's what he's telling us, is the last place he saw her is he placed her on the hood of the vehicle and fell asleep and when he woke up, she was gone."

The sheriff also said they can track where he was throughout the investigation. Their main focus right now is finding Emma and then they will question him about how this happened.

Myers says with the discovery of the coat and river conditions, it's unfortunately not looking good.

"We can't' say 100% but it's looking more like she probably is in the river someplace," Myers said.

Despite the recovery of the coat about a mile downstream, investigators believe Emma is in the water closer to where the truck was found submerged. They've intensified their search.

"We are on the ground, and we are still DNR and ISP dive team are still in the water searching for Emma. Emma's mother and uncle are down at the scene, so we've been keeping them updated," he said.

Investigators were also able to pull the truck from the river Saturday but say nothing was in the vehicle that helps with the investigation.

"We will continue to search until we find her," Myers said.

As crews search, the family asks for prayers.

"Our hearts go out to them. They wanted us to thank the community. We've had a big outpouring of support from the community regarding Emma and wanting to help," Myers said.

The sheriff's office is asking the community to avoid searching the area. They will be back out here around 8 a.m. Sunday.

They're also asking people to avoid posting hateful comments on social media.