The family of a missing a toddler is sighing with relief and crediting their dog for keeping the little girl alive in rural Kentucky after she disappeared for nearly two days.
Charlee Campbell, 2, and her Pit bull Penny emerged from the woods in Lebanon Junction after mysteriously disappearing early Thursday morning.
“This is our hero right here,” Beth Campbell, Charlee’s grandmother, told WISV. “When my dog didn’t come home, and my baby wasn’t home, she was not going to leave that baby until she got here.”
The Bullitt County Sheriff’s Office said the dog arrived home moments before Charlee was found by local resident Wayne Brown.
He told WDRB: “I saw the dirt all over her, and she had leaves in her hair, and I opened the door, and I said, ‘Are you Charlee?’.
“And she handed me this bottle. And I said, ‘Are you Charlee?’. She didn’t answer me. She wouldn’t say anything.”
The girl was found suffering from dehydration and had scrapes and tick bites, according to WDRB.
It wasn’t immediately clear how she disappeared, but authorities are investigating and Charlee has been placed with Child Protective Services for the time being, according to WDRB.
The sheriff’s office wrote on on Facebook: “Charlee’s amazing survival story continued tonight when she walked up on a porch on Roy Layne Road this evening.
“The homeowners realised who she was and contacted authorities. Ironically, her dog returned home on its own a few minutes prior to Charlee approaching the homeowners.”
The post added: “We cannot thank enough the firefighters, EMTs, dispatchers, search teams, other public safety agencies and the volunteer searchers from the community.”
“I’m just so happy she’s safe and alive. We’re blessed she’s healthy,” said Sheriff Donnie Tinnell. “It was emotional for me. We didn’t give up hope, but hope was going down for me.”