A South Carolina deer hunter found a missing 2-year-old girl in the woods Sunday after he heard her crying, authorities said.
Sara Alice Grice was last seen around 3:00 p.m. local time after laying down with her mother at her home outside of Prosperity, the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook release.
“Around 6:00pm, a deer hunter heard her crying,” the department said. “He called Newberry County 911, which began to track them through our mapping technology.”
That information was then relayed to a SLED helicopter and first responders before a “search team found the hunters and the little girl in a wooded area almost a mile from her home.”
Parents Mekayla and Gary told NBC affiliate WIS-TV that Sunday’s terrifying disappearance unfolded after Gary left the house through the backdoor as their daughter slept. Once he returned, they realized their daughter was missing. Eventually, the couple called 911.
“It was a scary thought because what if someone sees movement and doesn’t realize it’s a child,” Mekayla told the outlet. “Instead, we got a great response that [helped find] our baby.”
Sheriff Lee Foster confirms with PEOPLE that the girl “walked out of the home on her own,” saying that there was “nothing sinister” about the case.
“She was lost and was found,” he continued.
After the 2-year-old was found, the sheriff’s office added that a waiting department vehicle took her to an awaiting Newberry County Emergency Medical Services ambulance.
“Other than being tired, thirsty, and frightened, the little girl was in good shape,” authorities said, noting that her discovery was “truly a miraculous find.”
Mekayla was amazed by her daughter’s journey from home, according to WIS-TV. “To have gone a mile in a completely different direction is just astounding,” she told the outlet.
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