A single father of four small children reported his 4-year-old daughter missing Sunday morning after realizing the girl was not in the house.
The father called Walker County 911 and within minutes the LaFayette fire and police departments were on the scene and an Amber Alert was sent out.
Fortunately for the father, the young girl was attending church services with her live-in uncle in Ringgold the whole time.
According to LaFayette Police lead detective Stacey Meeks:
The father’s brother lives with him and helps raise the kids with the single parent and the uncle routinely at-tends church services on Sundays.
Meeks said the young girl had asked her uncle to attend church with him and her uncle took her along with him and had turned his cell phone off before entering the church.
The uncle had not informed the father, who was tending to the other three children at the time, that he was in fact taking the young child to church with him.
The daughter did not routinely attend church with the uncle, so the father did not think that that was a possibil-ity.
Authorities began the Amber Alert and gave a physical description out of the young girl.
Officers on the scene were able to contact the family’s neighbors, and with the authorities, both groups began a search of the area for the young girl.
“It gets the ball rolling,” Meeks said of the Amber Alert. “Any case like this, you want to act quickly.”
Finally, around noon, the uncle had left the church and turned his cell phone back on and received word that the girl was missing and, luckily for the father, the daughters whereabouts was determined.
“Until we could prove without a shadow of a doubt that she was with her uncle, we treated it like a legitimate missing child case,” Meeks said.
The young girl was soon reunited with the father and the situation quickly eased.
“Basically, it came down to miscommunication and poor judgment that caused this incident,” Meeks said. “It had a very different outcome, and in a lot of these situations like this, they don’t have such happy endings.”
Meeks said he was impressed by the quick response and effort placed by the LaFayette fire and police depart-ments.
“I was really proud of the responding officers and how they handled it,” Meeks said.
Meeks said no charges and no injuries occurred and the family is being referred to social services for a potential follow-up.