Rescuers find missing teen in Rowan County

ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A 17-year-old girl who went missing in Rowan County Wednesday morning has been found.

Officials said the teen, named "Jessica," walked off into the woods with a dog around 11:45 a.m. in the Long Ferry Road area. Jessica is mentally challenged and there was concern for her safety, officials say.

More than 50 individuals took part in the search, along with a K-9 from the Rowan Sheriff's Office.

By 2 p.m., deputies said Jessica had been found.

"We started a land search with drone search and ATV search," said Chet Hedrick of the Millers Ferry Fire Department.  "We had approximately 4 atv's searching, a drone in the air, and probably 50 personnel, around four agencies with more on the way.  We located her probably a mile and half from the station."

The girl was reunited with her family inside the Millers Ferry Fire Department Station #34 on Long Ferry Road.  Firefighters from that department, as well as volunteers, Rowan EMS, and the Rowan Rescue Squad assisted in the search.

Reverse 911 calls were made as crews searched the area she was last known to be in. Rescuers called out "Jessica, we are here to help you!"

"She ran from us, so we assured her we were there for her help," Hedrick added.  "We started calling out to her, crews were able to locate her, get her detained, and bring her back to the station."

Jessica and the dog were reportedly walking toward a lake in the area.

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