She was found a day later after disappearing after a hike with her parents.
After going missing on a camping trip in South Carolina, a 3-year-old girl has been reunited with her family. Ruby Heider went missing around 7:30 p.m. on 23rd September. Her family lost track of her while camping at Poinsett State Park. The child was found safe a mile away from their campsite on the following day at around 11 a.m, according to the Sumter County Sheriff's Office. The child was frightened, cold, and dehydrated. Sheriff Anthony Dennis stated that authorities found the little child "walking along the woodline," per WLTX. He added, "We were praying that when we located her, she would be okay."
Ruby was eating with her parents at the campground's clubhouse when she "walked off." Sheriff Anthony Dennis said that the child got lost after looking for the bathroom. According to the outlet, deputies believe the small girl originally did not come out of hiding because she was both disoriented and terrified. Tracey Hagen, a camper told WIS-TV, "We came out with flashlights, we started calling her name. We checked in with every camper at the site knocking on doors, asking if they had seen her."
According to Rhonda Mason, as officers with bloodhounds got on the scene, other campers walked out of the way and began praying for the little child back at their own campground. All of the campers were extremely joyful when they found out that Ruby was found safe. Mason recalled, "We were rejoicing. God is good, all the time."
Sheriff Dennis praised the community for stepping out to assist with the search. He claims that more than 150 volunteers showed up and that they had to send some away. He stated that Ruby's parents were "extremely happy" to discover that their daughter had recovered safely. The sheriff praised all of the agencies who helped the SCSO find Ruby, including the Sumter City Police Department, Fire Department, and EMS, as well as the FBI, Shaw Air Force Base staff, and others. The Facebook post reads, "There was sufficient volunteers that many of them did not get an opportunity to help."
The Sheriff's office shared photos of the moment when Ruby was reunited with her parents. The child can be seen in the arms of her mother while the father hugs both of them in a moving moment. One Facebook user commented, "Thankful for answered prayers!!! I can't imagine how frightened she was and how frantic her family was! Praise God for her safe return!!!"
Cover Image Source: Facebook/Sumter County Sheriff's Office (Sumter, SC)