Hear from the people who found a 2-year-old Monroe girl who went missing in Northern Michigan
Gabriella Vitale found after wandering away from campsite
COMINS TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A 2-year-old Monroe girl who went missing from a campsite in Northern Michigan was found safe Tuesday after a frantic search that lasted more than 24 hours.
Gabriella Vitale was found late Tuesday morning in good condition and even good spirits, according to Michigan State Police officials.
Gabriella went missing around 8:15 a.m. Monday while her family prepared to leave the campsite in Comins Township.
Family members told police they had been camping since late last week. They said they lost track of Gabriella while getting ready to return to the Monroe area.
Deputies with the Oscoda County Sheriff's Office were sent to a wooded area about three-quarters of a mile west of M-33 on Reber Road in Comins Township, according to authorities.
Police found Gabriella's jacket around 6 p.m. Monday, several hundred yards from where she was last seen.
Mike Owens and a group of co-workers were staying at a cabin about 100 yards from where Gabriella went missing. He said they were in the middle of a meeting Monday when they noticed search crews.
"The team happened to notice, just, helicopters flying back and forth," Owens said. "Various members of my team kind of went out to walk the property, see what we could find."
They joined close to 100 volunteers and MSP troopers combing through the thick wooded area for any sign of the little girl.
"We didn't know what the outcome was going to be," said Annie Coyle, who also participated in the search.
Officials said Gabriella walked to a nearby residence around 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, where Owens spotted her on the porch and alerted police.
"I looked over my shoulder and saw this little girl walking up to the door," Owens said. "I opened the door ... I grabbed her and everybody started crying."
Gabriella was OK but was missing her shoes and bottoms, according to authorities. Coyle said they gave the girl a blanket, food and water until police arrived.
"It was extremely overwhelming, and still is," Coyle said. "I can't believe it. I don't think any of us are going to forget this moment."
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