12-year-old girl drowns at Sandy Point beach while in restricted area

(WMAR) - Officials say that the body of a 12-year-old girl who went missing in the water at Sandy Point beach has been found.

Kaniya Kenly from Baltimore was recovered 40 yards from shore in the Chesapeake Bay on Tuesday evening around 11:20 p.m. Crews were off the beach of Sandy Point searching for her after she was reported missing around 6:30 p.m.

"They'd come. They'd set up on the beach. They were here to picnic, here to swim and have a good time," Cpt. Brian Rathgeb with the Natural Resources Police said. "It's a terrible tragedy." 

According to Maryland Natural Resources Police, Kenly was one of 15 people at a group outing at the beach. At one point, Kenly and three other kids around 11 to 15-years-old went alone to a fenced off, restricted area to swim. All of the lifeguards had gone off duty at this point, and they are not scheduled to look over the restricted area even when they are on duty.  

Police say the kids went to where they could stand, but there was a very strong current in the area, which pulled them out further than they could stand. Three of the kids were able to make it back to shore, but Kenly was struggling. 

Two men who were fishing in the area saw Kenly struggling, so they grabbed a life-saver buoy and tried to rescue her, but they could not get to her because the current was so strong. 

The Coast Guard, Anne Arundel County Fire, Maryland State Police, Annapolis Fire, and Maryland Natural Resources officers were at the scene assisting in the search for the girl. 

"It's not like swimming in a pool. There are currents. There are tides. The depth will drop off unexpectedly," Rathgeb said. 

As a hot holiday weekend approaches, police want to make sure everyone stays safe. 

"Parents really need to keep an eye on their kids when they are swimming. Again 11-15 years old, this is also an age where a lot of kids are left alone to swim and they are good enough swimmers," Rathgeb said. 

Police say to be aware of your surroundings, never swim alone and stay away from restricted areas. 

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