When a child goes missing it can be a parent’s worse nightmare as all kinds of scenario’s will play out in their head.
In June 2018, a two-year-old girl named Charlee Campbell disappeared from her grandparent’s home in the rural town of Lebanon Junction, Kentucky.
Charlee’s grandmother woke up to find the front door open. Charlee, who has autism and is often non-verbal, was missing. So was her pit bull, Penny.
Everybody was frantically searching the Kentucky countryside. As day turned to night the situation soon became very worrying.
Although emergency crews and 100 volunteers searched the area, Charlee remained missing 36 hours later.
Neighbor Wayne Brown was in his home praying that little Charlee would be found safe, when he spotted something standing in his yard — a tiny blonde-haired girl…
Charlee Campbell, who was known to her family as “Mo”, had been asleep when her grandfather left for work early that morning but just a few hours later her grandmother woke to find her missing.
Beth Campbell, her grandmother realised at that moment that the front door was open. Charlee and her dog, Penny, were both missing without a trace.
Police officers, firefighters and sniffer dogs were drafted in to start the search, which included a large wooded area near to Charlee’s home.
Over 100 volunteers also joined the search, but almost two days passed and still there was no trace of Charlee or Penny.
The whole area was covered in posters and pictures of Charlee, who was last seen wearing blue “Frozen” pajamas.
Everyone in the small community was helping in the hunt for the missing girl, which had captured not only the attention of local media but national too.
A miracle occurred almost 36 hours later when neighbour Wayne spotted a little blonde girl, covered in scratches, tick bites and leaves in her hair, in his backyard.
He called to his son who recognized her clothing from the description and immediately called the police.
Charlee was given much-needed supplies while they waited.
For Wayne the discovery hit close to home for him as his brother had gone missing when he was small.
“My little brother went missing,” Wayne said. “He had wandered away from the home and he had climbed three fences. They found him miles away from the house. It was actually my uncle that found him and he was dead.”
Wayne was thankful that Charlee didn’t suffer the same fate. However the story was about to take an unexpected turn.
Moments before Charlee appeared on Wayne’s property, her pit bull Penny had returned home to Beth.
Beth believes that Penny stopped at Charlee’s side the whole time she was away and made sure the 2-year-old was safe. “This is our hero,” says Beth, hugging Penny.
Penny returned home once she knew Charlee was safe. Charlee was taken to Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville to recover from the ordeal.
Charlee’s mother Natalie Quick thanked all of the volunteers and emergency crews who helped with the search for her daughter.
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