DeLand girl, 8, afraid of hurricanes, tried to pedal back to Ohio
Gary Taylor, Orlando Sentinel
10:58 AM EDT, August 16, 2007
When an 8-year-old girl was reported missing from a DeLand home Wednesday evening, the response from law enforcement was quick and massive.
The girl was last seen about 6:30 p.m. riding her bike in front of the home. Twenty minutes later, when her dad arrived home, she was nowhere to be found. After he drove around the neighborhood looking for her, police were called.
As the Volusia County Sheriff's Air One helicopter searched from above, DeLand police officers questioned the girl's parents, talked to neighbors and checked out a homeless camp not far from the home on Cypress Oak Circle.
The family recently moved to DeLand from Columbus, Ohio, and the girl had not made any friends in the area, her parents told police. She had never been missing before.
About 45 minutes after the girl was reported missing, neighbors and deputies in the helicopter spotted her on East Plymouth Avenue. By that time she had pedaled almost a mile, which put her just a little more than 900 miles from her destination. The girl was heading home to Columbus. There has been a lot of news lately about hurricanes and she told police she was afraid of hurricanes. And, after all, Columbus was her home, she told the officers.
Police took the girl home and reunited her with her parents.