A Michigan family was sent into a flurry when their 2-year-old daughter, Thea Chase, and their two dogs suddenly went missing after playing outside in the yard. She was missing for four hours before a search party found Thea and the two dogs in the woods – she was asleep and using one of the dogs as a pillow.
The incident happened in Faithorn, Michigan at around 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday (September 20). Thea was playing outside when her uncle directed her to go inside and grab her shoes because she was barefoot. Thea’s mother, Brooke Chase, didn’t know this until she went outside to check on her little girl.
Things went from bad to worse in a matter of seconds. Brooke went inside to see if Thea was inside, but she wasn’t. Brooke and her brother-in-law frantically started searching for the 2-year-old as they yelled and ran up and down the street. Unfortunately, her daughter and two dogs were nowhere to be found.
“I realized she was missing and I’m telling her uncle, and I said, ‘Where is she?’” Brooke Chase said in an interview with WJMN-TV on September 21. “We’re searching all around the yard, up and down the roads, screaming at the top of our lungs her name, calling for the dogs because the dogs were missing, too.”
After about 20 minutes of searching for Thea Chase, Brooke decided to contact her husband and local authorities. The Michigan State Police – with the help of family members, friends, and other community members – launched an immediate search party for the little girl. The search party lasted four hours.
“When we get a call like that, everything else stops,” Michigan State Police Lt. Mark Giannunzio said – adding that he put in a request for drones, search-and-rescue teams, and canine teams to assist with the search. They primarily focused their efforts on the deeply-wooded area surrounding the family’s home.
Brooke described how panic-stricken she was at the thought of her daughter in the woods by herself. “It’s completely wooded. Deep, thick woods around here. There’s a swamp over there, so of course we’re freaking out,” she said – adding she was in such a fog and in such a shock that she was literally gone.’
Thea Chase Was Found By a Family Friend Around Midnight
After nearly four hours of searching for Thea Chase, she was finally found around midnight by a family friend who was making his way through the wooded area on an ATV. He first came across the family’s Rottweiler (named Buddy) before stumbling upon Thea and the other dog a short way off the trail.
When the family friend approached the little girl, the family’s English Springer (named Hatley) growled to signify that she was protecting Thea and keeping her safe. Of course, the little dog was also keeping her comfortable – doubling as a pillow. “She has those dogs wrapped around her finger,” Brooke Chase said.
Brooke and her brother-in-law remained at the family’s home while the search party worked their magic. Troopers attempted to comfort the mother in the four hours that the search was ongoing and even searched the home numerous times to ensure she wasn’t hiding or unresponsive inside the home.
Luckily for the Chase family, this story has a happy ending. Thea Chase eventually returned home on the back of an ATV and was smiling and giggling when that happened. “Hi Mommy,” she said once reunited with her mother. Local authorities said the temperature was around 60 degrees when she went missing.
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