An 11-year-old North Carolina girl who vanished Tuesday after getting off her school bus was found safe after emerging from the woods outside her the following night.
The Conover Fire Department confirmed in a tweet Wednesday night that Emily Dowdle was found safe. She walked into her own backyard from a wooded area behind her house, according to WSOC-TV.
After she disappeared, police believed Dowdle had run away from home. The girl had skipped nine straight days of school, a fact her parents only found out Monday, Catawba police chief Duane Cozzen told InsideEdition.com.
*MISSING CHILD UPDATE* Emily Dowdle has been located and is Safe! Thank You to all of those who assisted in spreading the word!— Conover Fire Dept. (@ConoverFire) September 29, 2016
“She knew she was in trouble,” Cozzen said. Her father drove her to school on Tuesday, and she took the bus home.
The driver saw her walking toward the back of her house, which was normal for her, the chief said.
Foul play is not suspected. Cozzen said it appeared the child had stayed inside her home while ditching classes.
Her stepmother reported her missing Tuesday afternoon when she came home shortly after Emily got off the bus and couldn’t find the girl.
Neighbor Robert Wilson said the tearful woman came to his door.
“She was crying and I asked what was wrong and she said, ‘My daughter is missing. My daughter is missing,’’’ he told WSOC-TV.
Before she was found, officers and federal agents set up roadblocks and went door-to-door, asking residents if they had seen the child.