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‘Miracle’ toddler released from hospital

Police revealed that drugs were found in a purse located in the vehicle.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Lily Groesbeck, the 19-month-old girl who captured the world's attention after she was critically injured and then rescued from an upside down vehicle in the Spanish Fork River, was released from the hospital Wednesday.

Primary Children's Hospital confirmed the toddler went home at 4:10 p.m. She and her family quietly left the hospital, after the child's father earlier offered his first statements about the girl's survival.

"I'm just really blessed, and I'm glad to have my daughter here with me. And I'm overwhelmed with joy right now," said Deven Trafny, 34, Lily's father. "She's just a miracle to me, and I'm just blessed to still have her."

Amidst the joy of the child's recovery new questions about the crash were raised when police revealed that drugs were found in a purse in the vehicle, which claimed the life of Lynn Jennifer "Jenny" Groesbeck, 25, Lily's mother.

A small amount of what police said they believe is marijuana, about 16 pills of the painkiller Tramadol in an unmarked bottle, and an unused syringe still in its original package, were discovered in the purse, police said.

"I just want to stress that because these items were found in the vehicle does not mean they were a contributing factor to the accident so we are not jumping to conclusions at this point," Spanish Fork Police Lt. Matt Johnson said, noting the investigation is continuing.

Toxicology results on Groesbeck's body to determine whether she had any alcohol or drugs in her system at the time of the plunge into the river will take five to eight weeks, he said.

Groesbeck was driving home to Springville from Salem on Friday night when her car went off the road where Arrowhead Trail connects with Main Street. The car landed on its hood in the river.

Because of its position under the bridge and the lack of light, it was nearly impossible to see the car from the road.

Lily's miraculous recovery comes after being trapped upside down in her car seat in the back of her mother's vehicle in the Spanish Fork River. It wasn't until 14 hours after the crash, about 12:20 p.m. Saturday, that a fisherman walking by the area and spotted the vehicle.

Days later Lily was back acting like an 19-month-old again.

"She's doing all of her nursery rhymes — '(Five Little) Monkeys (Jumping) on the Bed,' 'Wheels on the Bus.' She knows everything she knew before anything happened. It's amazing. Doctors say it's amazing. I'm blessed. I'm counting all my blessings right now," Trafny.

He's also managing the grief of Groesbeck's death.

"I haven't really wrapped my head around that yet," Trafny said through tears. "She was the love of my life, and I'm going to miss her a lot. I still have to deal with that side. I really don't have much to say about that. I haven't put that all together yet. That's kind of a hard situation for me."

He and Groesbeck were engaged. Trafny, who is a drywaller, said he took a job about two weeks ago in Montana and had traveled back and forth from Utah. He was in Montana when Groesbeck's father called him and told him about the fatal crash.

The first flight out of Montana wasn't until Sunday, Trafny said. He arrived at the hospital by Sunday night and found his daughter in the intensive care unit.

"Came in, and I put my finger in her hand and told her, 'Daddy is here' and I love her, and she squeezed my hand. And then a few hours later, she tried to open her eyes. I haven't left her bedside since. I've just been sitting here, waiting for her to get better so she can come home," he said.

Since then, Lily's recovery has been remarkable, Trafny said.

"It's unbelievable. I mean, that just doesn't happen. She should be gone. She shouldn't be here right now, and she's here with her dad, and she's here with her family. The Groesbecks have been here supporting me the whole time through this. They've been right here with me every day — her grandpa, her uncles, her aunts, all of them. They've all supported me a lot through this, and I couldn't have done it without them," he said.

Trafny also thanked the rescuers who got Lily out of the water, as well as people from all over the world who have wished her well or donated to her GoFundMe site, which had raised more than $68,000 in three days in support of Lily.

"I never knew that this would ever be like this. I didn't know if my daughter was even going to make it," he said. "She's everything to me."

Trafny said Lily would be going home with Groesbeck's brother and his wife and live with them for now while he goes back to work in Montana to "get things going for us."

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam