About 200 rescuers spent hours this weekend searching for a Dawsonville child who, when found, had strayed maybe 200 or 300 yards from the family camp site.
Brianna Guthrie, 3, and family members had been camping under a bridge over the Chestatee River on Copper Mine Road in Lumpkin County.
About 5:15 p.m. Saturday, her mother was cooking while her father was panning for gold.
“Before you know it, just like most little kids do if you’re not watching, this one walked away,” said Darren Martin, spokesman for the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office.
The family searched for Brianna for about 45 minutes, then called the sheriff’s office.
Lumpkin authorities arrived and began looking for the child, then called on state agencies to help. The state alerted its Child Abduction Response Team, a collection of nine agencies that help in search and rescue, Martin said.
A Lumpkin County resident also helped in the search, flying his helicopter until dark, followed by a Georgia State Patrol helicopter pilot who flew over the area until “well after midnight,” Martin said.
“Search parties stayed on the ground. (Rescuers) also ran canine units throughout (Sunday) morning and running different grids ... until daybreak,” he said.
About 8:30 to 8:40 a.m. Sunday, the child was found “just a short distance from the camping area,” Martin said. “It sounds pretty (close by), but given the terrain, which is very steep, she was above all the search teams alongside the river.”
The child had nestled down and gone to sleep for the night.
“This morning, when we got active and got close, she heard and also called out (to rescuers),” Martin said.
The toddler “had nothing but a few bruises and scratches,” he added, describing her condition when found. “Everything was fine.”
The child was taken to Chestatee Regional Hospital in Dahlonega “just for safe measures, and there she was placed back with her parents,” Martin said.