Body of 9-year-old found in Schuylkill

Family speaks after girl's body found
PHILADELPHIA - August 20, 2009 Searchers pulled the body of Madousou Konneh from the Schuylkill River Thursday morning. She had been playing with friends Tuesday night before she ended up in the water.

The family's day began at the medical examiners office. They were called there to identify the little girl's body.

The girl drowned in the Schuylkill River after a boy playfully pushed or pulled her into the tidal waters two days ago.

After two days of searching in the murky river, a police marine crew spotted her body Thursday. She surfaced about a half mile from where she went under near 53rd Street.

Madousou's sister, Makula, tearfully said, "God bless her. I love her so much… I just feel, like, why it have to be her? Why not me? I'm older than her. Why God have to take a little one. It should be me. I love that little girl."

Madousou, a well behaved 4th grader who loved writing, music and Hannah Montana, had gone to the river Tuesday to cool off with her 12-year-old sister and some friends - just days after the city drained and closed its pools.

Her grieving mother, Hawa Trawally, immigrated to the United States from war torn Liberia, a widowed single mother of 7. Her husband died during the war.

She told us through an interpreting aunt about her youngest child's plans to grow up and take care of mom.

"That was her goal. Always talking how she want to be a doctor finish her school and help her mother."

Madousou's family realizes that the children were playing somewhere that was unsafe. But they hope their tragic loss causes the city to examine ways to discourage children from playing in or near the river.

Madousou's family must now plan a proper Muslim burial for a child they dreamed would help extend their legacy into the future.

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