Beth Campbell spent 36 hours in pure agony, not knowing if her granddaughter, 2-year-old Charlee, was dead or alive.
The grandmother lives in a densely wooded area in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky, approximately 30 miles south of Louisville. She and her husband have custody of the toddler.
On the morning of Thursday, June 7 around 10 a.m., Charlee went missing. Beth allegedly awoke to find the door open and quickly realized the little girl was missing.
It was originally reported at the time of her disappearance that the toddler was also autistic, however, Bullitt County Sheriff Donnie Tinnell later said that was not accurate and the young girl was able to speak.
What was even more curious about the young girl’s disappearance was that the family dog, Penny, went missing at the same time.
Authorities and volunteer crews immediately began searching the wooded areas surrounding the grandmother’s home. Word quickly spread throughout the community and online as officials looked for Charlee or signs of where she might have been.
But just as hope was starting to dwindle, a miracle happened.
Nearly 36 hours after her disappearance, the grandmother was looking over a hill on her property, praying to God. It was at that moment she spotted Penny running toward her.
“God is listening to us. He is listening,” Beth recalled thinking to herself.
It was shortly after Penny returned home that the Sheriff’s Department was informed the 2-year-old had been located at a home less than one mile away from her grandmother’s home.
Charlee was reportedly recognized by neighbors after walking onto their porch. She was dehydrated and covered in ticks.
“I’m convinced God led her to our porch,” homeowner Wayne Brown said.
“We’re so happy, we didn’t give up,” Tinnell said, fighting back tears. “Hope was going way down for me. … I was really starting to wonder what was going on.”
Officials are still investigating the circumstances surrounding Charlee’s disappearance, as they work to determine if she was actually in the woods the entire time. They state they had searched the area five or six times before she was found.
It has also since been reported that Beth will face charges of neglect and endangering the welfare of a minor.
Regardless of the circumstances of the disappearance, which we may never truly know, the family believes Penny kept Charlee safe from harm.
“This is our hero right here,” Beth stated. “When my dog didn’t come home, and my baby wasn’t home, she was not going to leave that baby until she got here.”
“By the grace of God and everyone that helped, she’s (safe), and that’s all that matters.”
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