NC girl is found; walks out of woods after hiding, officials say

UPDATE… 9:45 p.m. Wednesday… The missing 11-year-old Catawba County girl walked out of woods on Wednesday night, saying that she had been hiding there, WBTV reported.

Emily Dowdle appears in good shape but will be examined by medical personnel, the Catawba County Sheriff told WBTV.  Deputies will interview Emily to find out exactly what happened, according to officials.

“…thanks go out to hundreds of law enforcement, fire fighters, and other first responders,” said Shelly Lynch, spokeswoman for the Charlotte-based office of the FBI, which was also involved in the search.


HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) – Catawba County officials continue to search for an 11-year-old girl who went missing after getting off the school bus Tuesday afternoon.

Now, police say, the case is being investigated as a possible runaway.

Emily Dowdle, student at Catawba Elementary School, was last seen by her bus driver around 2:40 p.m. Tuesday. She was getting off the bus at her stop and heading to her home on Hudson Chapel Road. Police say no one was home at the time.

Wednesday, officials said they didn’t suspect foul play. According to police, Dowdle had skipped school nine times and was in trouble.

Her father dropped her off at school Tuesday morning and her mom didn’t get home until 3 p.m., nearly 20 minutes after Dowdle was dropped off at home, police say.

Police plan to set up road blocks and go door-to-door to chat with neighbors about the girl’s disappearance.

Investigators and K-9 units were at the scene searching for clues Tuesday night.

Emily is described as being 4 feet 11 inches tall with long light brown hair and hazel eyes. She wears dark framed glasses and was last seen wearing a pink shirt and capri jeans.

If you have seen Emily, you are asked to call the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office at 828-464-3112.

Police are asking that no volunteers come out to assist.

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