INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The search for a 4-year-old Independence girl has a happy ending Wednesday night.
The little girl was missing for nearly 24 hours but is now home and safe.
Police and the Missouri State Highway Patrol issued an “Endangered Person Advisory” for Raylanna J. Shepherd who was last seen at the QuickTrip located at 201 East 23rd Street at 10 p.m. Tuesday.
The highway patrol reported just before 8:30 p.m. that Raylanna was located safe at the QuickTrip on Highway 40.
A moment of relief after hours of worry for two metro parents after they reported their daughter missing.
“It’s hard as a parent to know your child’s missing,” Raylanna’s mom Kirsten Shepherd said. “Not knowing where she is, a lot of bad thoughts continue to occur.”
They said it all began Tuesday night. Her mother said she let Raylanna go to QuickTrip down the street from their home. She thought she was safe with someone that they knew but they never returned and the man Raylanna was with wouldn’t answer the phone.
“My mother was dating someone that recently moved here and come to find out, this person has been lying about his identity, different age, different name and he took off with her last night and didn’t return,” Kirsten Shepherd said.
When they exhausted all avenues of finding the girl themselves, they called Independence police, who sprang into action.
“Working very hard to make sure positive outcome and get her back,” Independence Officer Matt McLaughlin said. “I’m glad they were able to find her.”
A possible suspect has been identified and police say they have taken someone into custody for questioning.
FOX4 will continue to keep you updated as more details become available.