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MSP Helping WV State Police Find Missing Girl

Local police say they could've not found her without the help from an specialized aviation unit.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va. - A young Jefferson County girl has a lot to be thankful for, after first responders were able to find her after she went missing in sub-freezing temperatures. Local police say they could've not found her without the help from an specialized aviation unit.

Had the snow come a day earlier, the situation would have been worse for a Jefferson County family. On Monday night, their 8-year-old daughter with special needs went missing after running away from her home on Big Spring Road in the Happy Creek Subdivision.

West Virginia State Police were called to the scene, but couldn't find her after an hour of searching. As it got darker, the temperature dropped, concerns grew, with first responders worried about the incoming snow storm.

"The weather conditions for this morning was always in the back of all of our minds, all the responding units, and we were worried about for this one instance that we wouldn't find her," said Trooper JE Williams with West Virginia State Police. "It would even create a more tragic situation."

Trooper Williams knew they had to find her immediately, so Trooper 3 Aviation Unit of Maryland State Police, based in Frederick, was called to help locate the missing girl.  Maryland State Police say when they arrived they searched the area using their thermal imaging camera system. Within minutes they detected what they thought was the girl's body heat, and directed West Virginia troopers to the spot.

Trooper Williams found the girl huddled and shivering couple of miles away from her home.

"When I first went around the house, that they were guiding me towards, I even saw a cat that was on the back porch and I reported that it might be the cat," said Williams. "They said no there is another heat signature, that is how specific they are with this."

Police said luckily the girl didn't need medical attention. In fact she even had it in her to offer a special message to her heroes in the sky.

"That way meant for everyone especially for Trooper 3 for their efforts, quickly locating her," said Williams. "She was obviously very vibrant athletic and wanted to speak on the radio. I did not have any problems assisting her."

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and Ranson City Police also assisted in the investigation.

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