The search for a missing Midlands girl ended nearly 24 hours after she was reported missing, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.
Jozanna Lynn Quezada, 11, was found in a wooded area near her home, the sheriff’s office said at about 2:50 p.m.
EMS was called to check her for injuries, and there was no word on her condition.
After leaving her home on Sans Souci Road at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the 11-year-old was last seen about mile away at the corner of Edgehill and Raccoon roads, walking toward S.C. 261 at about 6 p.m., the sheriff’s office said in a news release. That’s in Sumter, near the Dalzell area, about 4 miles from Shaw Air Force Base.
Jozanna was considered a runaway, and was reported missing at about 6:45 p.m., according to the release.
Jozanna reportedly walked away from her home after an argument with a sibling, the sheriff’s office said.
At a Wednesday news conference at the Sumter County Sheriff’s headquarters, Sheriff Anthony Dennis describe the search as an intense and fast-moving effort. Police combed social media and reached out to people Jozanna may have contacted. They looked up any sex offenders in the area but ruled out any of their involvement. Police had no indication that someone abducted Jozanna but that possibly drove search crews to act quickly.
Police searched an area of the woods and didn’t initially find here there, Sheriff Anthony Dennis said.. When they search the area a second time about an hour later, police found her.
The FBI, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and Sumter Police Department worked with the sheriff’s office to find the girl. Teams of deputies and police dogs searched the area near her home, according to the release. Dennis commended the agencies’ fast work and cohesion at the news conference.
Jozanna does not have any medical issues, but there was urgency to find her because of the possibility of severe weather forecast for Wednesday, the sheriff’s office said. While she was lost she didn’t have a phone on her.
By the end of the search officers felt like they personally knew Jozanna, Dennis said. Thousand of people shared social media posts about Jozanna being missing. Dennis told her “You made the whole community fall in love with you.”
She smiled and laughed at that, Dennis said.
“In times like this, we appreciate the way our community is banding together to assist us,” he said in a news release.
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