Lifestyle & Human Interest

Missing Age 4 Girl Found in Woods After Two Nights with Dog by Her Side


Evelyn “Vadie” Sides, a 4-year-old girl from Lee County, Alabama, has just completed the adventure of a lifetime and given her loved ones the scare of a lifetime at the same time.

On March 25, the fiery-haired girl went out of her babysitter’s sight and disappeared into the woods. Thankfully she had a hound dog named Lucy at her side, according to USA Today, and the two spent the next two days out in the wild.

“Lee County Sheriff deputies, K9 units and Volunteer Fire & Rescue personnel are searching an area along Lee Road 66 north of Lee Road 65 located northwest of Loachapoka for a 4 year old female who was reported missing at approximately 2:45 pm today,” the Lee County Sheriff’s Office shared. “She is a W/F 3′ tall and weighs 40 pounds.”

“She has red hair and was wearing a blue print dress with green flower patterns. She may be accompanied by a hound dog, reddish in color with a collar.”

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According to the post, they did not suspect foul play, and it wasn’t long before they were arranging search teams and asking for volunteers.

“Able- bodied persons in good physical condition are preferred due to dense wooded terrain and scope of search,” their request read. “Volunteers should bring water and snacks and hand sanitizer for personal use. Thick pants and boots recommended. We will be practicing COVID-19 protocols. Tentative search start time is 1pm cdst.”

One night alone in the woods would be terrifying enough, but Vadie spent two nights lost before rescuers heard the hound barking and spotted the girl’s bright hair, according to KATU.

Thankfully, Vadie was found in good condition. Lucy was with her initially, but as the search teams tended to her, the dog lit off into the woods and returned home later by herself.

Vadie’s mother, Amanda Sides, posted a video of Vadie telling a story about her time in the woods, and thanked the many people and groups who’d come to her daughter’s aid.

“I slept by a road one, the first night, and the second night I slept where they found me,” Vadie told her mom in the video.

“I do not have enough words to express the proper gratitude to all of our community that came out to help us find this little angel,” Amanda posted on Facebook. “Jay Jones, Jimmy Taylor, and the rest of the Lee County Sheriff’s Department, Lee County, Alabama Emergency Management Agency, Auburn PD, Opelika PD, Air Force National Guard, Macon County Sheriff’s Department … the list goes on and on.

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“Thank you all so much. We have been overwhelmed by the unending unbelievable support we’ve gotten from this community.”

“Also, the people who kept me alive, force fed me water and chicken broth, searched the woods endlessly, and basically lived at Nanny’s house until she was found.

“Amanda D. Odom Yeager, Doug Yeager, Jennifer K Johnson, Jessie Smith, Melanie Payne, Kyle Payne, Willie Terrell Payne, Nick Reardon, Erin Lance Hunter, Pamela Lee Sides, Kenneth Busby, Carole Corsby, Wes Burt, and Samantha Burt Copelan, I will probably never be able to thank you all enough.”

“To all of the volunteers who came out in the middle of a global pandemic to traipse around in the woods, sometimes into the early morning hours, God Bless you all.

“Anyone I’ve forgotten just know that you are loved and we are incredibly grateful. We have been on an emotional roller coaster the last few days, and today I’m finally starting to breathe normally again.”

According to the mother’s post, Vadie was still recovering in the hospital Saturday but was “doing very well.”

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