Grace Shields, Raina Shields drown at Lake Montclair

The two were found by divers in Lake Montclair late Thursday night. Photo: Suzanne Kennedy

A mother and her daughter drowned late Thursday night while swimming in a lake in Prince William County, authorities say.

The drowning happened in an area of Lake Montclair near Royal Crescent Court in Montclair at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Prince William County Police say.

The victims are identified as{ }Grace Shields, 40, and Raina Shields, 6, both of Montclair.

A search began for the two victims when a neighbor told police that they heard a 9-year-old screaming near the lake.

Kathy Tkac took the child into her home and waited for her mother to return, possibly from a nearby fireworks show.

“When we saw the people coming back my husband was like, there is no way she was out on a boat with someone and I knew she wouldn't leave her little girl. That was even the stranger part, so we called police,” she says.

When they didn't come home, the neighbors searched the area for the mother and daughter, then called police. A SCUBA team then recovered the bodies of both the 40 and 6-year-old from the lake.

The 9-year-old child was placed into the care of Child Protective Services for the time being.Police say the 9-year-old is the key to learning what happened here.

“She seems to be the one witness or the one closest to be able to tell us what could've happened but at this point we're still trying to work through that,” says Prince William County officer Mark Merriman.