3-year-old girl found safe 7 hours after wandering away from family in rural Arizona

Nov 17, 2023, 12:00 PM

File photo of a Gila County Sheriff's Office SUV. A 3-year-old girl who wandered away from her fami...

A 3-year-old girl who wandered away from her family near Globe, Arizona on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 16, 2023, was found safe just after midnight. (Facebook File Photo/Gila County Sheriff's Office)

(Facebook File Photo/Gila County Sheriff's Office)

PHOENIX — A 3-year-old girl who wandered away from her family in rural Arizona on Thursday afternoon was found safe more than seven hours after she went missing, authorities said.

Deputies and U.S. Forest Service officers responded to an area 15 miles north of Globe in Tonto National Forest after a 911 caller reported the child missing around 4:50 p.m., the Gila County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

The reporting party said the girl got out of a stopped vehicle about 30 minutes before the call and couldn’t be found.

GCSO’s Globe Search and Rescue, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue and the Arizona Department of Public Safety mobilized search operations.

The child’s family and friends also helped with the search.

When, where was missing 3-year-old girl found in Arizona?

The girl was located about 12:10 a.m. Friday in a wash about .65 miles from the vehicle. Officials believe she walked about 1.5 miles before reaching the spot where they found her.

“We are so grateful for this positive outcome,” Gila County Sheriff Adam Shepherd said in a press release. “When calls involve young children, it adds a layer of difficulty. Time is so important in search and rescue operations, and I couldn’t be prouder of these searchers.”

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3-year-old girl found safe 7 hours after wandering away from family in rural Arizona