Leia, 8, and Caroline Carrico, 5, were found around 10:30 a.m. local time about a mile and a half south of their home in Benbow, California.

By Rachel Desantis
March 04, 2019
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Humboldt County Sheriff's Office

Two young siblings whose disappearance sparked a massive search in Northern California were found safe Sunday after missing for 44 hours, authorities said.

Leia, 8, and Caroline Carrico, 5, were found around 10:30 a.m. local time a mile and a half south of their home in Benbow, California, by the Piercy Volunteer Fire search team, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said.

The girls had been missing since Friday afternoon, when they walked off into a wooded area near their home.

“I am pleased to report that we are all witnessing a miracle today. Caroline and Leia have been found safe and sound in southern Humboldt,” Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said at a press conference.

Honsal noted that the girls had spent the last two days in “rugged territory,” and speculated that outdoor survival training they received from their 4-H club could have played a part in their safe recovery.

“The No. 1 [medical] concern is dehydration, you know, being out there for so long,” he said. “The initial assessment was that they were dehydrated, they were cold, but they were well.”

The sisters’ disappearance led to a major outpouring of support from the community, as ABC News reports that the search involved more than 170 personnel from 21 law enforcement agencies.

Honsal said at a previous press conference that the girls’ mother first noticed they were missing around 3 p.m. Friday, after they asked her if they could go for a walk and she said no.

The mother conducted a search of her own with neighbors and family before calling police around 6 p.m.

The sheriff’s office said Saturday they were following a trail of granola bar wrappers found in the woods after the girls’ mother confirmed she’d recently bought the same brand.

“A lot of us didn’t get any sleep in the last 48 hours,” Honsal said Sunday.

“To have a positive outcome like this is just absolutely amazing,” he added, “and I can say it’s nothing other than a miracle.”

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