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Woman’s body recovered, kids still missing in Mississippi River

UPDATE, 9:30 p.m.: Tunica County Sheriff KC Hamp says a woman’s body was recovered Monday, but the bodies of the two children in a vehicle that went into the Mississippi River were not found.

A body matching the description of Symphony Wilson was found in a vehicle 26 feet below the river and will be taken to the Mississippi medical examiner’s office in Jackson.

Although a booster seat was found inside, Hamp said the two children were not found.

Hamp said it has not been determined how the accident happened. Surveillance video of the incident exists, he said.

A search for the children will continue Tuesday.

Brenilah, Symphony Wilson, Cortez

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EARLIER:

TUNICA, Miss. — Authorities searched for a second day Monday for a 29-year-old woman and two young children inside an SUV that went into the Mississippi River.

Dive teams were out all day, but they still hadn’t reached the vehicle because of rough currents and debris. While they search the river, the Southaven Police Department is providing counseling for the family.

Teams scour the Mississippi River Monday looking for a woman and two children who went into the river a day before.

“They have gone down into the river at this time. However they have not made it to the vehicle, to the location, because of a lot of debris,” said Chief Deputy Randy Stewart with Tunica County Sheriff’s Office.

Eight divers with the Arkansas Swift Water Dive team are searching. They believe all three people are still inside the vehicle, and believe they know where the vehicle is located.

The sheriff’s office says the dive teams will remain out through Monday evening and return Tuesday if necessary.

Friends and family of Symphony Wilson, 5-year-old Brenilah and 2-year-old Cortez were watching the search with hope in their hearts.

"I haven’t slept much. I slept for maybe two hours last night," said Veronica Stokes, a family friend and grandmother of three of Wilson's children. "Every time I try to sleep, I think about them. I think about the children. It’s been hard.”

Deputies say Wilson dropped someone off at the Fitz Casino on Sunday morning when she lost control and drove into the river with the two children inside.

Family members said the person Wilson dropped off was her cousin, and also the mother of Brenilah and Cortez.

"That’s the hardest part," Stokes said. "I know it’s a tragic loss but I’m praying the children and Symphony inside the vehicle. I don’t want her lost or them to be lost at sea.”

Wilson is a mother of five herself, and friends don’t believe she would do anything to be away from them.

"It was not intentional," Stokes said. "Something happened in there that probably caused distraction, but for her to actually do this on purpose, no. She never would have left her children.”

Stokes said she can't imagine what the mother of those two kids inside the SUV must be going through.

"I know as a grandma who just lost a grandbaby, I can’t express it. There’s no words to tell you how to feel for her. She’s really strong for her to be back here today. I know god has to have a part,” she said,

It's tougher knowing they were headed to church when the crash happened, she said.

"She was actually getting ready to come to Clarksdale to church. The kids were getting ready for church," Stokes said. "They sing in church, do praise dances, poems and skits.”

In this trying time, the family says they will rely on God to uphold them. They only pray Wilson was able to do the same.

"I’m praying that stuck in her head, whatever went on, that she was able to talk to God to protect them even as they were going into the river.”

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