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Man Did Not Dig Sand Hole That Collapsed, Killing 7-Year-Old Girl and Injuring Brother: Police

"Broward Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit detectives say at this time they have no evidence that suggests a man dug the sand hole," police said in a statement

<p>Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty</p> Investigators on the beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea take photos of the scene of a sand collapse on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024.

Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty

Investigators on the beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea take photos of the scene of a sand collapse on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024.

The sand hole swallowed up two siblings, killing Sloan Mattingly, 7, and injuring her brother on a South Florida beach last week, was not built by someone else, authorities said.

"Broward Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit detectives say at this time they have no evidence that suggests a man dug the sand hole where the children were trapped prior to the incident," the sheriff's office said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Tuesday.

The update arose after an eyewitness alleged in a previous report that they spotted a man digging the massive hole on the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea beach on Feb. 20.

A man did dig a hole, but not the three-foot hole that trapped Sloan and her brother Maddox, NBC affiliate WTVJ reported.

Authorities said that what led to the tragic incident is "part of an active and ongoing investigation."

Related: Family Shares Final Moments of Girl Swallowed by Sand Hole: Brother 'Couldn’t Feel Her Moving Anymore’

Sloan was in the hole with her brother, 9, when the sand collapsed around them, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office previously said.

Police have said the family was on vacation from Indiana.

The 7-year-old attempted to “grab up Maddox’s leg to get up out of the sand” after the hole caved in, Chris, the children's uncle, was told by his brother, NBC affiliate KFOR-TV reported.

"Eventually he couldn’t feel her moving anymore," Sloan’s uncle told the outlet.

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Thomas Rassas, who captured portions of the rescue on video with his cell phone, told WPTA that the girl was under the sand for more than 15 minutes before she was eventually freed.

A Broward Sheriff's deputy, who was a first responder at the scene, told WTVJ the incident was captured on video, but it's not being made public.

Related: 911 Call Details Moments After Siblings Were Swallowed by Sand Hole: 'My Daughter's in There'

The uncle claimed the girl was "non-responsive" when she was finally pulled from the sand, KFOR-TV reported.

Sloan was transported to Broward Health Medical Center, where she later died, according to the BCSO. Maddox was also hospitalized following the incident and was listed in stable condition, per WPTA.

Related: 14-Year-Old Boy 'Full of Adventure' Dies 2 Days After He Was Rescued from Sand Hole in Rural Minn.

Sloan, a first grader at Lafayette Meadows Elementary School, was described as "a stunning person" who "made you laugh with the words she said and the faces she made, and just as much with only the sound of her laugh," according to her obituary.

"Her very best friend was her brother and hero, Maddox," the tribute added. "They are each other's favorite people and have a relationship that will continue for eternity."

A funeral service will take place on Friday.

Her official cause of death has not been revealed. More than $153,000 has been raised through a GoFundMe campaign to support Sloan’s family as of Wednesday morning.

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