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'We're All Witnessing A Miracle,' Sheriff Says After Missing California Sisters Found Safe After Two Days In Woods
Two helicopters and 12 K-9 rescue units were dispatched when Caroline and Leia Carrico went missing in Humboldt County, California.
Northern California locals were relieved to see two children who had been missing in the woods for days tearfully reunited with their parents.
A search and rescue squad had tracked footprints left by 8-year-old Leah Carrico and 5-year-old Caroline Carrico leading them to discover the girls, who had been lost since March 1. The team found the children at around 10:30am on Sunday after a nearly two-day search involving two helicopter crews and 12 rescue dogs. They were ultimately discovered around a mile and a half south of their home on Twin Trees Road in Benbow, California.
The two had wandered from their home on Friday. Police were contacted a few hours after they vanished, following a brief search of the area by their mother, Misty Carrrico, and some neighbors, according to NBC News.
The rescue team found granola bar wrappings in the wooded area near the residence on Saturday. The mother confirmed that the two had been given granola bars as snacks shortly before disappearing.
The girls were dehydrated and cold upon discovery, but were otherwise uninjured and in good spirits. A rain storm had been approaching the area shortly before they were located.
Lt. Mike Fridley of the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office recalled the mother's reaction when she was informed her children were fine.
“She melted on the phone,” Fridley said, according to USA Today.
Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal was thrilled to announce the girls had been found at a press conference which had originally been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to update the public about the search but was delayed when news of the happy discovery broke.
"I'm pleased to report that we're all witnessing a miracle today," said Honsal, according to SFGATE. "Caroline and Leia Carrico have been found safe and sound in southern Humboldt. ... I can't thank enough the team that's assembled behind me. ... It has been unbelievable. We could not have had a better outcome than what we had this morning."
Estelle Fennel, the second district supervisor in Humboldt County, also expressed relief at the same news conference.
"I have to tell you when we got first word that the kids were maybe safe, there was still a question mark in a lot of people's minds," said Fennel. "We have so many of these kinds of efforts that end up in tears. Today, we can all shed tears of joy."
Video of the Carrico parents doing just that was shot by a bystander at the scene.