“I’m so happy and grateful to God for watching over my beautiful granddaughter and bringing her safely back to us,” Evelyn “Vadie” Sides’ grandmother, Harriet Sides, said.
Vadie was walking her dog under the supervision of a caretaker Wednesday afternoon when the caretaker said she turned her head for a second and the girl “essentially disappeared.”
Authorities deployed helicopters and drones Thursday to help find her.
“The dog was with her protecting her the whole time,” Lee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Andrew Peacock, said, The Birmingham News reported.
Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said Vadie was in good shape: responsive, alert and talking.
“No words are capable of describing everyone’s relief,” Jones said after the girl was reunited with her parents, according to FOX 6 in Birmingham. “We are just, ecstatic might be a good word… and the best part is she is with her mama.”
Around 300 volunteers had joined in the search through the wooded area.
“Our thanks just don’t seem like enough, but they have our sincere and heartfelt thanks for the sacrifices they made — all the volunteers that came with one goal in mind and that was finding this little girl and getting her back to her mom and dad, which just happened a few minutes ago,” Jones added.