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Missing New Hampshire girl found dead

The body of an 11-year-old New Hampshire girl who disappeared almost a week ago was discovered yesterday in a river less than half a mile from her home, and authorities said they considered her death suspicious.

Celina Cass was reported missing July 26. New Hampshire and Fish and Game divers found her body late yesterday morning near a hydroelectric dam that spans the Connecticut River between her hometown of Stewartstown and Canaan, Vt., ending a massive search, Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said. It was recovered from the river in the evening.

"We have brought Celina home, obviously not the way we wanted to bring her home," said Young, her voice breaking.

Authorities had said that Celina, who lived with her older sister, mother and stepfather near the Canadian border, was last seen at her home computer around 9 p.m. on July 25 and was gone the next morning. Police said there was no sign of a struggle, and there was no indication she ran away or that someone took her. Young declined to say whether there were any suspects in the girl's death. "We have made no determination on where her body was eventually put in the river," she said.

An autopsy was scheduled for today to determine the cause and manner of death. "Based on what we have seen visually, we are treating it as suspicious," Young said. -- AP

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