3-Year-Old Girl Is Reunited with Her Family After Going Missing During S.C. Camping Trip

A 3-year-old girl has been reunited with her family after she went missing during a camping trip in South Carolina, according to authorities.

Ruby Heider was reported missing by her family around 7:30 p.m. on Friday after they were unable to locate her while camping at Poinsett State Park, according to a news release from the Sumter County Sheriff's Office.

The missing toddler was found safe "less than a mile from the camp site" the following morning around 11 a.m. local time, the SCSO said in a second statement, shared Saturday afternoon on Facebook.

Sheriff Anthony Dennis said deputies located the little girl as she was "walking along the woodline," according to CBS affiliate WLTX.

"We were praying that when we located her, that she would be okay," Dennis said, per the outlet.

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Ruby was having a meal with her parents at the campground's clubhouse when she "walked off," Dennis told reporters, per WLTX.

Deputies believe the little girl initially did not come out of hiding because she was both lost and scared, the outlet reported.

Tracey Hagen told NBC affiliate WIS-TV that "every camper" in this campground came out to help look for the toddler.

"We came out with flashlights, we started calling her name," Hagen explained. "We checked in with every camper at the site knocking on doors, asking if they had seen her."

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Rhonda Mason told WLTX that once officials with bloodhounds arrived on scene, some campers stepped out of the way and "started praying for the little girl" back at their own campsite.

They were thrilled to learn she had been found the following day. "We were rejoicing," Mason said, adding, "God is good, all the time."

Dennis recognized the citizens who helped during the search for Ruby, including those who offered their prayers, according to the SCSO.

"He is thankful to acknowledge that those prayers were answered this morning," the department said in its second news release.

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Ruby's parents "were extremely happy" to learn their daughter was found safe, Dennis said, per WLTX.

The sheriff thanked the various agencies that assisted the SCSO in the search for Ruby, including the Sumter City Police Department, Fire Department and EMS as well as the FBI, Shaw Air Force Base personnel, and more.

"There was sufficient [enough] volunteers that many of them did not get an opportunity to help," the SCSO said.