2-Year-Old Girl, Lost for Over 24 Hours in Michigan Woods, Found Safe

Sanya Mansoor
Gabriella showed up on a porch about half a mile west of the original location

A 2-year-old girl who wandered away from her family during a camping trip in the woods of northern Michigan was found safe by law enforcement on Tuesday morning, more than 24 hours after they first started looking for her, according to state officials.

Gabriella Roselynn Vitale was “found in good condition and even in good spirits for a little girl who had been out in the woods all night,” the Michigan State Police tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. She has since been reunited with her mother.

Police started looking for Gabriella around 8:15 a.m., about 15 minutes after her family couldn’t locate her. They had been busy packing up their campsite, State Police Lt. Travis House told TIME.

The extensive search involved a helicopter, at least 10 dogs and more than 50 searchers who comprised mainly of law enforcement but also included trained volunteers.

On Monday, searchers had found the child’s pink jacket several hundred yards southeast of where she first went missing.

It wasn’t until Tuesday morning that Gabriella showed up on a porch about half a mile west of the original location, law enforcement said.

She had walked up to a woman’s home around 11:30 a.m. House said the house’s resident, who had already been contacted by police about the missing child, notified the authorities.

“It was a relief given the amount of time she was gone,” House said, adding that some officers started searching as early as 8:30 a.m. and kept working until midnight.

A recent photograph tweeted by the police shows the toddler with messy brown hair, drinking water and holding a half-eaten cookie.

 

House said that these cases don’t occur often but do “happen from time to time” because of the vast expanses of land in northern Michigan. “We even have adults getting lost,” House said.