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Community Rallies To Find Missing 4-Yr-Old — And Brings Her Back Home!

4-year-old shayla of tasmania smiling as she stands outside and rests one hand on a tire placed on the ground

Bianca Page has left her daughter, Shayla, to play with the neighbor’s two dogs countless times, but one Wednesday afternoon, the three of them wandered off a little too far.

Bianca was gone for about 30 minutes when she discovered they were missing. Because Shayla loves a game of hide and seek, Bianca was hopeful that everything was all right and her daughter was only playing. But as time passed, it became clear that wasn’t the case.

As soon as Bianca reported her daughter as missing, local authorities in southern Tasmania began to search the area based on how far a 4-year-old is likely able to travel. By the time a whole day passed, more than 100 personnel, sniffer dogs, horses, helicopters, and drones were on the case.

Soon after the search began, one of the missing dogs found their way back home by themselves. Next, the second dog was located 700 meters from their home. Unfortunately, there still wasn’t any sign of Shayla.

Tensions grew as the search passed the two-day mark, but everyone involved remained steadfast in their determination to find this little girl. Then, as one group made their way through a heavily wooded and area on a slope, the moment they’d been hoping and praying for finally arrived!

“We were dealing with a four-year-old girl, we knew we had to find her, we had to do that crawling on hands and knees to locate her,” Inspector Gavin Hallet said. “And that’s what SES (State Emergency Service) did to locate her.”

He added, “It seems like perhaps she had been lying down and just stuck her head up and she was seen. It was just at the right place at the right time, had the SES volunteer been looking to the left and not the right we could still be doing this search.”

After two whole nights alone in the bushland, Shayla was dehydrated, disoriented, and missing her family who, when they were given the news, didn’t hesitate to reunite with their baby girl.

“When I passed the news on to mum, she was very grateful and very keen [to see her],” Gavin said. “I said, ‘Take a few minutes to have a shower,’ she didn’t care, she just wanted to get in the car to see her daughter.'”

Shayla’s reunion with her mom was said to be “very emotional,” as you can imagine, but in the time that the little girl was missing, it seems that much of their rural town was just as ecstatic. When the news came out that she had been found, countless people celebrated.

“There was yelling and screaming, and everyone was just really excited,” Carey Sharman, member of the Country Women’s Association said. During the search, she and other members helped feed the search crews.

“It’s just absolutely amazing,” Tasman Council Mayor Kelly Spaulding said, “everybody and all the volunteers on the ground and the police and emergency services … what an outcome.”

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