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Missing 4 year old Alabama girl describes how dog protected her in forest

Evelyn Vadie Sides
Pictured missing 4 year old Alabama girl, Evelyn Vadie Sides.
Evelyn Vadie Sides
Pictured missing 4 year old Alabama girl, Evelyn Vadie Sides.

Evelyn Vadie Sides missing four year old Alabama girl found safe 48 hours after wandering away from babysitter. Loachapoka girl describes how pet dog protected her.

A four-year-old Alabama girl who went missing in dense forest less than a mile from her family home has described how her pet dog protected her as investigators scurried to find the child.

Evelyn ‘Vadie’ Sides was reported missing after wandering away from her babysitter, who is in her 70s, from her home in the small community of Loachapoka, just west of Auburn, on Wednesday, March 25.

‘The call was from a caretaker for the child, a friend of the family, she reported that she and the 4-year-old missing girl identified as baby Sides were outside in the back of the residence, that literally she was there one moment and then she looked up and the little girl had disappeared from her view,’ Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said.

The report triggered a search that saw hundreds of law enforcement officers from multiple agencies, as well as drones and horses, involved.

Vadie had disappeared for close to 48 hours before finally being located on Friday afternoon in woods close to her home, with her dog, who had gone missing with her, staying by her side until rescuers reached her.

‘One of the volunteers that was probably 50 yards to my right … heard a dog bark,’ one of the rescuers told WRBL. ‘The dog was actually kind of spooked and came at the man a little bit and then saw the line of about 30 of us, and the dog turned around and went down the hill.’

‘The dog was with her protecting her the whole time,’ said LCSO Andrew Peacock.

‘Praise God Vadie was there, she popped her head up, we saw her little red hair,’ another said. ‘I’ll tell you what, she was scratched up on the knees and the forearms but otherwise in great spirits, she was just talking like ‘no big deal’ … it’s truly a miracle.’

4 year old Loachapoka girl explains how pet dog gave her comfort and protected her: 

Vadie’s dog had run away when the rescuers approached it and could not be retrieved. However, it came back home of its own accord later.

Told four-year-old’s grandmother, Harriet Sides via AL.com: ‘I’m so happy and grateful to God for watching over my beautiful granddaughter and bringing her safely back to us.’ 

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office was equally ecstatic that Vadie had been found before any harm had come to her. 

‘No words are capable of describing everyone’s relief,’ Jones told WSFA. ‘We are just, ecstatic might be a good word. She is in good shape, she is responsive, she is talking, she’s alert. She is in good physical condition, and the best part is she is with her mama.’

Jones also thanked the 300-odd volunteers who had assisted his office and other law enforcement agencies in the search.

‘Our thanks just don’t seem like enough, but they have our sincere and heartfelt thanks for the sacrifices they made,’ he said. ‘Several volunteers said this is such good news at a time when we need it… and I couldn’t agree more.’

‘This was really good, solid, positive news in a time when I think people need it the most, with all the medical concerns going on.’

Also expressing her gratitude was Vadie, with the four year old’s mother, Amanda Sides, posting on Facebook that the brave 4-year-old girl wanted to share what happened when she disappeared on Wednesday afternoon (see video immediately below).

I do not have enough words to express the proper gratitude to all of our community that came out to help us find this little angel. Jay Jones, Jimmy Taylor, and the rest of the Lee County Sheriff's Department, Lee County, Alabama Emergency Management Agency, Auburn PD, Opelika PD, Air Force National Guard, Macon County Sheriff's Department…. the list goes on and on. Thank you all so much. We have been overwhelmed by the unending unbelievable support we've gotten from this community. Also, the people who kept me alive, force fed me water and chicken broth, searched the woods endlessly, and basically lived at Nanny's house until she was found.. Amanda D. Odom Yeager, Doug Yeager, Jennifer K Johnson, Jessie Smith, Melanie Payne, Kyle Payne, Willie Terrell Payne, Nick Reardon, Erin Lance Hunter, Pamela Lee Sides, Kenneth Busby, Carole Corsby, Wes Burt, and Samantha Burt Copelan, I will probably never be able to thank you all enough. To all of the volunteers who came out in the middle of a global pandemic to traipse around in the woods, sometimes into the early morning hours, God Bless you all. Anyone I've forgotten just know that you are loved and we are incredibly grateful. We have been on an emotional roller coaster the last few days, and today I'm finally starting to breathe normally again. Vadie is still recovering in the hospital, but she is doing very well. She asked me to record her telling her story. It is what I would call the short version for sure, but below is the video of Vadie telling me what happened to her. I'm sure she will have more details in the future.

Posted by Amanda Sides on Saturday, March 28, 2020