PARIS, Mich. — After spending nearly 24 hours in the dense woods of Newaygo County, 2-year-old Amber Rose Smith is safe.
Amber was taken to a hospital in Big Rapids, where she will be observed for the night with family by her side.
Early Wednesday morning support came pouring in from across the area. Nearly 250 volunteers, dressed to brave the elements, gathered in Barton Township, prepared to do whatever it took to bring the little girl home.
“I’ve been up all night,” Angela Chambers, a volunteer and friend of the family said. “I’ve cried hard. I’ve prayed a ton.”
Newaygo County Sheriff’s deputies said Amber was reported missing by her father, who told them he went into another room at their home on 13 Mile Road and then couldn’t find her when he came back.
An MSP helicopter searched overhead as a K-9 unit tracked the nearby areas and crews on foot took to the woods. Come Wednesday morning, there was still no sign of Amber.
Then, at about 2 p.m., just as another crew was heading into the woods, word came through the radio that Amber Rose was found. She had survived the night.
“We waited, and they didn’t come, so we just kept riding and listening, and by God here come the entourage,” Chambers said as she stood by waiting to see Amber carried out of the woods.
For Newaygo County undersheriff Brian Boyd, it’s a rare day for searches like this, one he said he won’t forget.
“Oh it’s top 10,” Boyd said about this moment in his career. “To actually put the work in, and then you’re part of something that saved a little girl’s life.”