By GREG RUSSELL
Register Staff Writer
CALLISBURG — Wednesday’s disappearance of a 3-year-old girl from a rural residence near Callisburg prompted efforts from more than 45 law enforcement and public safety officers.
Cooke County Sheriff Terry Gilbert said the girl, name withheld, was reported missing from the 400 block of County Road 118 shortly after 4:30 p.m. and was returned home less than three hours later.
“It was an extremely great response and we greatly appreciate everybody’s help,” Gilbert said.
The sheriff said the disappearance resulted in between 45 and 50 officers conducting a search. Volunteer firefighters from Callisburg and Oak Ridge helped, along with Cooke County officers, a Department of Public Safety aerial unit from Garland and a search canine from the University of North Texas.
“They were the closest one we could get to,” he said. “But we found the child before the dog could really engage.”
Gilbert said the search ended by 7:20 p.m. As off-duty deputy Josh Johnson scouted the area, he found the girl in a pasture a half-mile from her home along with two dogs, one of which had also been noticed missing earlier in the day.
“We don’t know if the child followed the dog or the dog followed the child,” he said. “Her favorite dog was the one they noticed missing. I don’t think she ever realized she was lost.”
Gilbert also said he couldn’t fully explain why the girl evaded discovery for as long as she did — but as a toddler, she likely didn’t know to stop wandering.
“You never know with a little kid; they’re just running and playing,” he said.
Disappeared child cases of any magnitude are rare in Cooke County, Gilbert said, but added that when they happen, certain climates elevate their importance even higher.
“We consider it a priority response and that’s why we downloaded as many personnel as we could, as quick as we could,” he said. “As hot as it was yesterday, and as close to dark? The exposure is what we worry about, especially with somebody that young.”