WALLER, Texas – A 5-year-old Waller County girl who wandered away Sunday night at a park was found sleeping ten hours later outside a house Monday morning.
Authorities said Precious Valdez disappeared at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park as her family was packing up to leave after a weekend camping trip.
Crews started searching just after midnight, using search dogs and a helicopter. They scoured the park several times, searching bodies of water in the park, and thick wooded areas too.
Authorities found her about 8:30 a.m.
Capt. Joe Hester, of the Waller County Sheriff’s Office, said Precious was found on an air conditioning unit, wrapped in a blanket, sound asleep at a home near the back of the park, at least a half-mile from where she went missing. He said she was scared of the deputies when she was found, but she was OK.
"She was scared, she didn't want the officer picking her up, she was scared. I can imagine that she has been out there all night by herself," said Major Hester.
"They found her? They found her? Is she alive? They tell me they found her alive but they won't say if she's hurt...."said Emily Solis, Valdez's cousin.
The little girl was alert and not hurt. She was taken to the hospital just as a precaution. Precious was reunited with her mother on the way there
Hester said the man who was in the home originally helped look for the girl, but apparently didn’t see her.
“Nice to know that she’s OK,” Hester said. “It was quite a relief.”
It was the phone call the family of 5-year-old Precious Valdez had been praying for.
Officials letting Precious' family know the little girl, who spent the night out in the cold after wandering off from family, was found alive and well.
"I was happy I was worried about her. I have a little girl also, I was hoping ...I was hoping and praying that everything would be alright and it was," says Major Joe Hester from the Waller County Sheriff's Dept.
An emotional day for everyone, even those who live nearby, who were hoping and praying the little girl would be found unharmed.
"She's a mother of 7, and I am a grandmother of 15, and I couldn't imagine going through something like this," neighbor Patricia Alewine said.
Investigators plan to talk to Precious to figure out why she wandered away, Hester said.