Kelsie Lee, a 12-year-old Georgia girl feared dead after she went missing Monday morning, was found roughly 12 hours later thanks to an observant neighbor.
Lee's mother noticed her missing around 8:45 a.m. Monday morning after returning home from dropping off one of her other kids at school. Another sibling told officials that Lee had gone to take the trash out but never returned, and she never showed up at school either, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
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Several area law enforcement agencies launched an all-out search for the girl over the course of the day Monday as three separate reverse 911 calls went out to notify neighbors.
Around 8 p.m., just as officers were about to call off the search for the night, a woman called and said she'd found Lee walking along a street in the neighborhood.
"I thought it seemed awfully late for a little girl to be walking ... and said to my husband, 'I think I might have just seen Kelsie,'" neighbor Jennifer Aliff told WSBTV.com.
"I saw the black and gold sweater and I stopped next to her and said, 'Are you Kelsie?' and she said, 'Yes,' and I said, 'Sweetheart, everybody is looking for you, can I take you home?' She said, 'Please, I’m just so scared.'"
Lee was returned home and reunited with her family, but it's still not clear what made her leave the house.
"This isn't, 'Mom, dad, I hate you.' It doesn't have anything to do with that [and] that's why there are still suspicious circumstances as to why she left," Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Edwin Ritter told WSBTV.com.
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