Authorities locate 7-year-old after neighborhood search
SALISBURY - Nearly five hours after the family of a 7-year-old discovered she was missing Friday, authorities found the girl playing behind a neighbor's house.
Relatives realized the girl was missing around 11:30 a.m. and reported it to officers about 1:30 p.m.
That sparked a widespread search of the area.
Authorities sent out an amber alert for the child and brought in a Department of Corrections bloodhound to track the girl. A State Highway Patrol helicopter was also called in.
Salisbury Police Capt. Shelia Lingle said the 7-year-old had been playing with friends behind a next-door neighbor's house. The neighbor told officers the girl had only emerged from the woods about 15 minutes before authorities located her at the home.
Emergency crews on the scene gave the girl a brief medical evaluation before releasing her into the custody of her family.
Following the ordeal, the girl's mother, Elizabeth Fonner, said she was just happy to have her daughter back.
"My daughter is home and that's all that's important is that she's OK," Fonner said.
Lingle said the girl's family recently moved to the home on Sidney Drive near Camp Road.
"They've been living here about two and a half weeks," Lingle said. "They moved here from Myrtle Beach."
Authorities said they were finishing the first stage of using the bloodhound to track the girl when she was located.
Sgt. Mark Hunter helped head the search for the child Friday. He said officers were focused on finding the girl before night fell.
"This is serious business here," he said. "When you get a child missing, it's serious business. Thank God it was daylight, because when the sun sets, it makes it that much more difficult."
Along with Salisbury Police, the State Highway Patrol and Rowan Rescue Squad assisted in the search.
Police said a neighbor's security camera caught images of the girl leaving the home around 10:15 a.m.
Neighbors said they had seen the girl play in the area, but hadn't seen her that day.Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.