California sisters, aged five and eight, found alive two days after going missing in the woods
Last Friday, two sisters went missing from outside their home in Sacramento, California at some time after 2.30pm. Aged just five and eight, the girls were obviously incredibly vulnerable, and their family couldn't help but fear the worst.
Yesterday, however, the pair were discovered alive and unharmed after spending two days in the woods.
Eight-year-old Leia Carrico and five-year-old Caroline had apparently wandered off into a wooded area near their home on the Friday afternoon, but got lost and were unable to find their way back. When they were eventually discovered by a search team on Sunday morning, they were only 1.4 miles away.
William Honsal, the Humboldt County Sheriff, said during a press conference yesterday that the girls managed to cope with their isolation thanks to the survival skills they'd learned through their local 4-H club. It also helped that they were wearing warm clothes and had each packed a granola bar before heading out of their house on Friday.
"I am pleased to report that we are all witnessing a miracle today," Honsal said. "To have a positive outcome like this is just absolutely amazing."
He noted that the girls were obviously dehydrated and cold, but had managed to stay "in good spirits" and had avoided any injuries.
Over the weekend, a mass search team comprised of helicopters, tracking dogs, rescue personnel, police officers, National Guard members from Fresno, the US Coast Guard, and volunteers combed the area in order to find the girls. Some helpers travelled hours from their homes in order to take part in the search, even though they did not know the girls personally.
In the end, it was a fire captain and firefighter who found the sisters, after finding granola bar wrappers and tracking nearby bootprints through the wooded area.
Before they went missing, Leia and Caroline had reportedly asked their mother, Misty, if they could go for a walk by themselves. She had told them they couldn't, but, when she went to check on them later, it became apparent that they had snuck off by themselves anyway.
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office said they were notified of their disappearance around 6pm - at least three hours after the girls were last seen. Before that, Misty and some of the family's neighbours had tried to search for the sisters themselves.
When the girls' mother was told over the phone that her daughters were safe and well, she apparently "melted" from relief and happiness. The family are grateful for the safe return of the girls.