In June 2018, a two-year-old girl named Charlee Campbell disappeared from her grandparent’s home in the rural town of Lebanon Junction, Kentucky.
Charlee’s grandmother woke up to find the front door open. Charlee, who has autism and is often non-verbal, was missing. So was her pit bull, Penny.
Authorities, search crews, bloodhounds and volunteers scoured the expansive wooded area for any sign of the little girl, but with no luck.
36 hours after Charlee’s disappearance became the talk of the town, a neighbor named Wayne Brown was sitting on his couch, praying she’d be found safe.
Just then, Wayne saw something standing in his yard — a tiny blonde-haired girl…
2-year-old Charlee Campbell, lovingly nicknamed “Mo.”
Charlee lives in the rural town of Lebanon Junction, Kentucky.
On a Thursday morning, the toddler was snuggled in her bed at 5:30AM when her grandfather left for work.
At around 10AM, the nightmare began.
Her frantic grandmother, Beth Campbell, woke up to find the front door open.
Charlee, along with the family pit bull Penny, were both gone.
The Southeast Bullitt Fire Department, plus dozens firefighters, deputies and bloodhounds, began their tireless search of the heavily wooded area.
Nearly 100 volunteers and first respondents also participate in the search, but nearly two days passed and still no sign of Charlee or Penny.
The “Missing” posters said Charlee has autism and was last seen wearing a blue set of “Frozen” pajamas.
News of the missing child flooded the distraught community.
And then, after 36 hours, a miracle.
On the Saturday after Charlee went missing, a Lebanon Junction resident named Wayne Brown was sitting on his couch, praying for the missing child. And at that very moment, he saw something eye-catching standing in his backyard.
“Please let this little girl be safe,” he pleaded.
Wayne saw a blonde-haired girl in his backyard.
He jumped up ran to the door as she approached the porch.
“Are you Charlee?!” he asked her.
She didn’t say anything. She was dirty, with leaves in her hair and ticks on her body. And then Wayne recognized her “Frozen” shirt.
Wayne immediately called authorities.
The discovery left an earth-shattering imprint on Wayne. When he was eight years old, his little brother went missing. “He had wandered away from the home and he had climbed three fences,” he told the Courier-Journal. They found him miles away from the house. It was actually my uncle that found him and he was dead.”
Wayne thanked God Charlee didn’t meet the same fate.
But the story took an even more heartening turn.
Just minutes before Charlee showed up on Wayne’s property, her family pit bull Penny had returned back home to Beth.
Beth believes Penny stayed by Charlee’s side the entire time she was missing, making sure she was safe.
“This is our hero right here,” Beth said of Penny.
“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.”
Remember when Wayne said Charlee didn’t speak when he found her? That wasn’t completely true.
Charlee said one thing; she pointed to Wayne’s dog and said, “Puppy.”
Charlee was rushed to the hospital and is expected to be okay.
“We cannot thank enough the firefighters, EMT’s, dispatchers, search teams, other public safety agencies and the volunteer searchers from the community,” authorities said on Facebook.
Police are currently conducting an investigation into the disappearance.
Thank goodness Charlee and Penny are okay, safe and sound.
Dogs are truly amazing creatures.