‘I Thank God She’s Safe’: Neighbor Finds Toddler Missing for Nearly 36 Hours

Charlee Campbell, age 2, was found safe after she was missing for nearly 36 hours.

By Nancy Flory Published on June 12, 2018

A 2-year-old autistic girl was found dehydrated and covered in ticks, but safe after she and her dog went missing for nearly 36 hours in Bullitt County, Kentucky.

Charlee Nichole Campbell wandered up to a neighbor’s house from a wooded area Friday evening. She’d been missing from her home in Lebanon Junction since Thursday morning. Police and volunteers had searched the wooded area multiple times but didn’t find her. The dog showed up at the family’s house about the same time the neighbor Wayne Brown found the toddler.

I’d Been Praying

Brown found Charlee on his porch Friday evening. “I’d been praying and asking God to please let this little girl be found,” he told The Louisville Courier. “Let somebody find her, let her be safe and let her be okay.” He saw a blonde-haired child in Frozen-themed pajamas pass by his door. This matched a police description. Brown and his son knew it was her. He called the police, and cared for the dehydrated little girl until help arrived.

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Brown believes it was no coincidence Charlee ended up at his door. “I’m convinced that God led her to our porch. I don’t know why me. It could’ve been anyone. But no one will convince me otherwise — I believe with all my heart that it was the Lord, Jesus Christ, who brought her up on that porch and let her be found by us.”

Brown had searched for Charlee for three hours on Thursday. The search struck a deep emotional chord. When he was eight, his three-year-old brother wandered away from their house, but was later found drowned in a creek. Brown thanked God Charlee was found safe.

No Words, Except God

“There’s so much evil and so much wicked in this word, and people doing ungodly things to these kids. To find one safe and unharmed? I can’t express it,” said Brown. “There are no words, except God.”

Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell told reporters Monday morning he doesn’t believe the child was in the woods the entire time. Since Charlee was staying at her grandmother’s house at the time of her disappearance, the Sheriff is planning to press charges against her for negligence. Sheriff Tinnell said that the investigation into what happened is ongoing.

“I honestly didn’t think we were going to find her,” said Southeast Bullitt Fire Chief Erik Butler. “It’s a miracle. It’s great.”

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