Lost 3-year-old cries to parents over phone before helicopter finds her, MO cops say

Parents in rural Missouri realized their 3-year-old daughter had wandered away from home Friday morning, police say.

They called 911, and deputies responded to help find the child, according to the Barton County Sheriff’s Office. But no one could find her .

So, the sheriff’s office called in backup to help with the search, which was located about five miles north of Lamar in southwestern Missouri, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

The girl had taken a cell phone with her and even knew how to use it, the sheriff’s office said. So, while multiple police agencies searched around the home, the 911 dispatch center tried to “ping” the phone to get the child’s location, according to the sheriff’s office.

Then the parents called the phone and their daughter answered, the sheriff’s office said.

They could hear their upset daughter crying over the phone — but she couldn’t say where she was at, according to the sheriff’s office.

Nearly two hours after she went missing, a Missouri State Highway Patrol helicopter pilot helping with the search found the girl in a field northwest of the family’s home, according to the sheriff’s office. The pilot hovered the helicopter above the child, allowing for people on the ground to find the toddler, the sheriff’s office said.

The parents were reunited with their daughter, the sheriff’s office said.

“There was a lot of great team work in looking for this child and we ended with a positive result of getting the child back to (her) parents,” the Barton County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.