THE small community of Vunato settlement in Lautoka is still in a state of shock after the body of one-year-old Loata Tamudu was found floating in a creek on Saturday afternoon.
The toddler was in the care of family members when she disappeared from their home around 4pm.
Her father, Watisoni Buli, was away searching for firewood when concerned family members alerted him of his child's disappearance.
"When I got home, we started looking everywhere for her," said Mr Buli.
"The last time I saw her, she was playing with her favourite doll. We found the toy near a coconut tree beside our house.
"We did not think that she would go far but when we realised that she was missing, we started to fear the worst.
"I went with one of my cousins to the mouth of the creek and there someone called out to us saying they'd found her."
Mr Buli's worst fears came true when he found the body of the toddler floating lifelessly in the creek.
"We're still trying to figure out how she ended up in the water. Going down the creek is impossible for someone as young as her."
The 25-year-old father was left devastated when medical staff members informed him his child was dead.
"She hardly went near the creek but somehow she made her way to the river bank."
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said investigations into the drowning continue.