Family, police thankful for quick response during search for missing child

Credit: Mike di Donato/ KTVB

Little Thea was found after around two hours and was okay. She was found where police say most kids are found, right in her house.

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by Jamie Grey

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBJamieGrey

KTVB.COM

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 4:11 AM

MERIDIAN --On Sunday night, neighborhoods and police banded together to help find a 2-year-old girl who was reported missing.

Little Thea was found after around two hours and was okay. She was found where police say most kids are found, right in her house.

However, a couple things make this story interesting: How many people showed up quickly to search, and the system Meridian uses to alert neighbors of a missing child.

A QUICK RESPONSE

"It was fast. I mean crazy. Probably within 15 minutes, all sorts of people were out," said Thea's father, Sam Roundy.

After searching the house high and low on Sunday night and not finding Thea, her family called police.

"I'm like, we need help now. Because you don't have any time with something like that," Roundy said.

When police came, they said they too searched the house and couldn't find Thea.

"I thought we needed to notify neighbors as quickly as possible," said Meridian Police Sgt. Branden Fiscus.

Police sent out calls through a national program called "A Child is Missing" that can make simultaneous phone calls to surrounding neighborhoods, asking for help.

"I was very pleased and very happy with the amount of people that came out to help. We typically don't see something of that extent," Fiscus said.

Fiscus says he likes to use the phone call system by the "A Child is Missing" program because it's a free way to get the word out fast.

POLICE PRAISE COMMUNITY

"Typically I like to use "A Child is Missing" because they can send all the calls out at one time to multiple people," Fiscus said. "The Ada County Dispatch system, it only calls one person at a time, so it can take an extensive amount of time. And, it was 40 degrees with a 2-year-old child, I didn't know if we had enough time to wait for that."

After neighbors and family searched for more than an hour, Thea was found asleep under a blanket on a bed police and her parents say had been checked several times.

The family says during the search, other kids jumped on that bed where Thea was eventually found, and police even moved it while looking through the house. Family says Thea's great-grandmother had been praying and had a feeling that helped lead them to finally find her.

"We typically do find the child inside the residence, but there is always that chance that the child did make it outside or something worse happened, so we always try to fall on the side of caution," Fiscus said.

"I keep asking myself, you know, why didn't we just see her? But I guess it took two hours to find her even though she was in the house," Roundy said.

Though the search was over, the one issue Fiscus says they have with their system is police couldn't do another call to neighbors.

ONE DRAWBACK TO THE SYSTEM

"That was a drawback that happened last night, once we found the child, we can't call "A Child is Missing" and tell them to call everyone back to cancel it, so we had to send officers out to tell everybody to stop looking," Fiscus said.

Neighbors told us they didn't mind spending time looking, and Thea's family says they're very grateful.

"There was a lot of people out on all the streets. It's really nice," Roundy said. "It was amazing. We're thankful for the cops coming out and helping out. [I] feel like there isn't anything you can say or do, but it meant a lot."

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