Missing 7-year-old girl’s body found, grandma’s husband arrested

NILAND, Calif. – The Imperial County Coroner confirmed the body of a child found Thursday is that of a missing 7-year-old girl last seen in Imperial County. She was found in the Coachella Canal in Mecca, Calif. Thursday morning.

WBNS-10TV identified her as Annie Lee Palmer from Columbus, Ohio. Her father, Freddie Palmer, says she was visiting her grandmother in Niland, Calif. with her sister. That they were left under the care of the grandma’s husband 56-year-old Heinrich Paul Boykins.

“‘Sorry’, that’s all I (was told.) ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’  Sorry (is) not going to bring her back.  What’s the use of being sorry?  You should have been watching them,” said Palmer.

Boykins was booked for manslaughter and child neglect and is being held on a $100,000 bond.

ICSO Investigator Sgt. Jimmy Duran says Annie was last seen in an Imperial County portion of the canal about 1o to 15 miles south of Mecca, known to be dangerous and clearly marked with signs  Sgt. Duran said he believe a strong water current could have swept the girl north to Mecca where coroners are responding. More updates will be posted as they become available.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

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