Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lost and Found Child: It Was Day of Frenzy

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lost and Found Child: It Was Day of Frenzy

Article excerpt

Byline: Bonnie Upright

"911, what is your emergency?"

"My 7-year-old daughter is missing."

My heart beating outside of my chest, tears in my eyes, I couldn't believe the words I was hearing myself say to a Clay County Sheriff's dispatcher last Monday.

It was an average afternoon in an average middle-class neighborhood. I was inside working, and my 7-year-old, Emma, was in and out of the house as she usually is after school. Playing with neighbors, getting the mail, very much nothing out of the ordinary.

Around 4:50 p.m., she came upstairs dancing and singing. She was in her bathing suit, having taken advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to play in the sprinklers. I remember saying to her how happy it made me to see her so happy.

A few minutes later, I heard her go out the front door. About 5:05 I asked my oldest daughter, Sydney, to go get Emma so she could get ready for an event we had to go to.

Sydney went out front, but didn't see her. She came in and told me she couldn't find her; I said go look again - that she was probably next door with one of her little girlfriends. Sydney then called me from her cell crying - saying Emma wasn't there.

I ran outside, calling her name. No answer. I went to our neighbors (the families we knew), but nobody had seen her. We searched the house - every closet, under beds, inside the washer and dryer. Emma had disappeared.

Knowing that time was the greatest enemy, I made the call to 911.

The first deputy arrived while I was still on the phone with the dispatcher answering questions - that's how quick the response was. The deputy asked if he could search the house.

I followed him inside while my amazing neighbors jumped in their cars, teenagers got on their bikes and skateboards - all searching and calling for my daughter. While inside, the officer asked me again for a description of Emma and what she was wearing, any distinguishable marks or scars - questions you'd expect. …

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