5-Year-Old and 8-Year-Old California Sisters Found After Going Missing: Reports

March 3, 2019 Updated: March 3, 2019

Two young sisters, aged 5 and 8, were found alive after spending two days and nights in a cold forest, according to reports.

According to officials, 5-year-old Caroline and 8-year-old Leia Carrico went missing from their home on the afternoon of March 1.

“I am pleased to report that we all are witnessing a miracle today. Caroline and Leia have been found safe and sound in southern Humboldt,” Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal told ABC News.

Deputies in Humboldt County, California, said the girls went out after their mother told them not to, ABC7 reported.

Missing California sisters
Caroline Carrico, age 5, and Leia Carrico, age 8, were last seen at about 2:30 p.m. on March 1, 2019, outside of their home in Benbow, California, officials said. (Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office)

Temperatures in Humboldt, which is located in the northwestern portion of the state, dropped into the 30s this week.

Officials said the girls were found near Richardson State Park, more than a mile south of their home.

“They were safe and sound, still ambulatory, in good spirits, no injuries,” Honsal reported.

“We could not have had a better outcome than we’ve had this morning,” he added to ABC. “It’s an absolute miracle.”

The sheriff’s department said they discovered granola bar wrappers in the woods.

A massive search in Northern California for two missing sisters, ages 8 and 5, went into its third day on Sunday and the…

Posted by ABC News on Sunday, 3 March 2019

“We found some clues during the day that made us change our direction. We found granola bar wrappers and were able to confirm with the mom that yes those were granola bars that were bought in the last few days. The wrappers showed what direction they went in,” said Mike Fridley of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, ABC7 reported.

The office said they discovered boot marks that matched what the girls were wearing.

They were discovered on the morning of March 3, reported the ABC affiliate.

In a previous news release, the sheriff’s office said they went missing in “steep, heavily wooded terrain.”

Honsal said the mother didn’t give them permission to go outside for a walk.

Posted by Humboldt County Sheriff's Office on Saturday, 2 March 2019

They went missing when the mother was doing household chores. At around 3 p.m., she realized they were gone, according to a video of a news conference posted on Facebook.

The mother contacted the office at 6 p.m. that day after a search by friends and family wasn’t successful.

The sheriff’s office said on Twitter that the search area was closed to unauthorized aircraft including drones.

“Citizen drones are making it dangerous for our assisting helicopters to fly. Please do not operate a drone in the search area,” Honsal said.

Before the two were found, he said that there are no signs of foul play, and the family is being “fully cooperative.”

Missing Children

There were 464,324 missing children reported in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center in 2017, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Under federal law, when a child is reported missing to law enforcement, they must be entered into the database. In 2016, there were 465,676 entries.

“This number represents reports of missing children. That means if a child runs away multiple times in a year, each instance would be entered into NCIC separately and counted in the yearly total. Likewise, if an entry is withdrawn and amended or updated, that would also be reflected in the total,” the center noted.

Reve Walsh and John Walsh speak during The National Center For Missing And Exploited Children, the Fraternal Order of the Police and the Justice Department’s 16th Annual Congressional Breakfast at The Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel in Washington on May 18, 2011. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

In 2017, the center said it assisted officers and families with the cases of more than 27,000 missing children. In those cases, 91 percent were endangered runaways, and 5 percent were family abductions.

About one in seven children reported missing to the center in 2017 were likely victims of child sex trafficking.

The number of reported missing children has significantly decreased in recent years, according to a 2017 report by the Department of Justice (pdf). The number of children reported missing dropped from 6.5 per 1,000 children in 1999 to 3.1 per 1,000 in 2013.

Missing children typically fall into five categories: kidnapped by a family member, abducted by a nonfamily perpetrator, runaways, those who got lost, stranded, or injured, or those who went missing due to benign reasons, such as misunderstandings, according to the report researchers.

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