ALCOA, Tenn. (WATE) – A missing Alcoa girl was found safe Friday morning near her home around 9 a.m.
Ter’Riana Nicole Hill, 6, went missing from the building six area of Grayson Apartments, 101 Grayson Drive, Thursday night.
Family members say she was playing outside with her brother when he turned around and she wasn’t there. The family searched all over for her.
“I drove around, and around, and around. And I got out and I screamed and screamed and this just cannot be real,” said Ter’Riana’s mom Charlotte Dennis.
The girl said she got lost, walked to a longtime family friend’s home and spent the night in their backyard next to the porch.
Her great aunt, Pat Davis, started searching local parks and the duck pond on Friday morning. She couldn’t find the girl, so she went to check on the family friend who needs medical care. When Davis pulled into the driveway, Ter’Riana walked around the corner.
“It was like a miracle. It was like, ‘Oh my God. God said I would find her,'” said Davis.
Davis adds it was faith that led her to Ter’Riana.
“I don’t feel like a hero,” she said.
“It’s a mother’s worst nightmare for your child to go missing,” said Dennis.
Police say an investigation is ongoing, although police don’t believe there will be a criminal investigation.
“It’s very very scary. You don’t know anything and then it gets raining and then things going through your head like evidence is washing away,” said Dennis.
Ter’Rriana was reported missing to Alcoa police Thursday night.The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued an endangered child alert for the girl early Friday morning. The Blount County Sheriff’s Department used bloodhounds and thermal imaging equipment to search for the girl. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation also used a plane with thermal imaging equipment to search for the child.
“The magnitude of the response we had from the search effort was phenomenal and certainly appreciated,” said Alcoa police chief David Carswell.
“I want to thank every law enforcement, state trooper, everybody that helped find my baby,” said Dennis.
Alcoa Police Department Chief David Carwsell says an endangered child alert was issued because of Ter’Riana’s age, the weather conditions and the time that has passed since she was reported missing. An Amber Alert wasn’t issued because authorities didn’t believe the girl was abducted and there were no signs of foul play.