A 4-year-old Alabama girl who disappeared Wednesday afternoon while walking her dog has been found, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.
While the sheriff’s office didn’t say where or how she was found, a photo published on the website of WTVM shows the little red-haired girl smiling in the arms of a rescuer with a smudge of dirt on her nose.
Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told the station that Evelyn “Vadie” Sides was safe and back with her mother.
Drew Peacock, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office said the dog initially ran away when searchers found the little girl but is expected to return home, AL.com reported.
“The dog was with her protecting her the whole time,” said Peacock.
Ed Casey was with the search team that found the little girl and told WTVM’s Elizabeth White that they were less than a mile from Sides’s home when they heard a dog bark.
#EXCLUSIVE: Volunteer describes finding 4-year-old Vadie Sides after a 48-hour search. She’s alive and well and joy can be felt all over East Alabama! Details-> https://bit.ly/2wHjmEw
Posted by Elizabeth White on Friday, March 27, 2020
“We were going down a hill,” Casey said. “One of the volunteers — we heard a dog bark. The dog was spooked and kinda came at the man.”
The canine ran off when he saw the line of searchers, but they’d found the missing girl.
“She popped her head up, and we saw her little red hair,” Casey said. “She’s scratched up on the knees and forearms … but she was talking like no big deal.”
“She was so calm. I figured she’d been crying and panicked but it was like she was out on a Sunday walk.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Jones said that Vadie was with a caregiver described as a “longtime friend of the family” when she disappeared from the 5000 block of Lee Road 66 in Loachapoka, at around 2:40 p.m. Wednesday.
“They had gone off into the backyard of the residence located off of Lee Road 66 here, northwest of Loachapoka. They were just walking around in the backyard of the residence, and bear in mind this is a rural area. The homes are pretty far apart and sparsely populated.”
The caregiver told authorities that when she looked up, Vadie had disappeared from sight. After a brief search of the area, the caregiver contacted 911.
#UPDATE: Volunteer Request from Lee County Sheriff’s Office for missing girl •If individuals wish to assist in search…
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[Feature Photo: Evelyn Vadie Sides/Lee County Sheriff’s Office]