Missing 3-year-old girl brings community and multiple agencies together in search

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald

Girl later found in relative’s backyard

By Jon Johnson


GRAHAM COUNTY – A frantic mother awaited for news as people on horseback and side-by-side utility vehicles were joined by various authorities in scouring the hillsides of San Jose Road on Sunday, May 19, searching for her missing 3-year-old daughter. 

Deputies were initially dispatched to the residence at about 2:56 p.m., and after not finding the girl on the property a neighbor advised seeing the girl walk away with one of the family dogs, which was also missing. 

The deputies began searching around the residence and then along a nearby canal. Soon, the search party included additional deputies, as well as a Pima Police officer and an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper. An Arizona Department of Corrections K-9 tracking team was requested as well as a DPS Ranger helicopter. 

As the clock neared 4 p.m., the girl was still missing and her mother advised she thought she heard the missing dog barking somewhere in the hills across from her residence. 

The search shifted toward the hills on the east side of San Jose Road and searchers made their way up and down and into a wash on the north side. 

A deputy later came across a barbed wire fence and turned around, walking back toward San Jose Road. Roughly 10 minutes later, a woman on a UTV drove up the hill and informed the deputy that her brother had come home from work and discovered the missing girl in the backyard of his residence near the cemetery. She apparently had been playing in the yard with the animals. 

The deputy informed the rest of the search party members, and the DPS trooper and helicopter were canceled, as well as the DOC K-9 tracking dogs. 

By the time the deputy made it back to the mother’s residence, the child had been returned in good health.  

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