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SMITHFIELD, Cache County — A 14-year-old girl who was reported missing was found injured in a ditch in Cache County early Friday.
Now, officers from several agencies are collecting evidence to determine what happened and how she was injured.
About 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the Cache County Sheriff’s Office received word that a 14-year-old girl from the small town of Amalga had not returned home from school. The girl was supposed to be home at 4 p.m., according to the sheriff's office.
Cache County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Peterson said the girl had been in contact through texting with her family throughout the day until late Thursday afternoon.
The girl is in ninth grade at North Cache 8-9 Center in Richmond, according to police. She gets out of school about 2:30 p.m. and typically takes a bus to Sky View High School, where she takes a second bus to get home, Peterson said.
When she failed to return home Thursday, the sheriff's office was called about 6:30 p.m.
At 12:45 a.m. Friday, after officers spent the night searching for the girl, Smithfield police were called to a report of a "medical situation" in a dry canal east of Sky View High where the teen girl was found.
"The girl had significant injuries that required transportation to a local hospital. She was flown to a Salt Lake-area hospital for further treatment," according to the sheriff's office. "It is unknown at this time how the girl was injured or how she ended up at the incident location. … There is not enough substantiated details of the extent of the girl’s injuries and the circumstances of her discovery to release yet."
Peterson said investigators were waiting Friday to hear from doctors about the extent of the girl's injuries and what may have caused them. As of early Friday afternoon, they could not confirm whether she was assaulted. The girl's condition had stabilized Friday, he said.
Detectives were also interviewing the girl's friends and reviewing her Facebook posts Friday looking for evidence, as well as determining when the last time she was seen at school and whether she rode a school bus home that day.
The ditch where she was found is a high-traffic area with joggers and people who walk their dogs, Peterson said. Because of that, detectives do not believe she was there very long before she was found by a person out looking for her.
Furthermore, Peterson said she was found in an area that had been checked earlier.
Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.