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Family thanks community after missing 8-year-old girl found safe

Published: Jun. 1, 2021 at 9:40 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 1:23 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - UPDATE: An 8-year-old girl has returned home safe Tuesday after hours of searching in Roanoke

Cecelia Patterson, known as CeCe, was reunited with her family around 12:30 Tuesday afternoon.

“I am grateful, God bless, I just thank everybody.”

A family reunited after hours of stress and searching.

Roanoke Police said CeCe had walked away from her home along Florida Ave NW around 11 p.m. Monday.

“A lot of praying, keep our faith, a lot of staying positive. Going through type of emotions, from sad to angry to crying then thinking the worst then hoping the best,” CeCe’s Father Damon Patterson said.

Roanoke Police worked with 10 other agencies, including the FBI and U.S. Marshals Office, to search the city. They followed tips until a neighbor called to report finding the girl.

“Someone in the community found her in their car and called us,” Chief Deputy Chester Smith said.

CeCe was found along Aspen Grove Court, less than a mile from her home.

“We want to thank everybody in our community for looking to help search and find her. We couldn’t have done it without community help,” Smith said.

The family giving that same thanks Tuesday afternoon.

“They all came out to help, we have the best neighbors in the world,” Patterson said.

CeCe has been enrolled in Roanoke’s Project Lifesaver program. CeCe is autistic and nonverbal and this program helps family members keep their loved ones safe by using a transmitter to help locate people who may tend to wander away.

UPDATE: 8-year-old Cecelia Patterson, missing since Monday night, has been found safe, according to Roanoke Police.

She was found about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in a car, by the car’s owner on Aspen Grove Court NW, less than a mile from home.

She has been reunited with her family, which in a WDBJ7 interview, thanked the community and police for a diligent search that led to CeCe being found.

ORIGINAL STORY: Roanoke Police are asking for the public’s help finding a missing 8-year-old girl.

Cecelia “CeCe” Patterson. Cecelia was last reported seen about 11 p.m. Monday at her home in the 2800 block of Florida Avenue NW.

She was wearing a black dress, gray sweatpants/leggings and a blue-spotted hat. Earlier information had her wearing a different outfit, according to police. Cecelia is autistic, according to police, who say the girl left her home on foot.

Police are asking the public to search their property, including yards, sheds, garages, vehicles, etc. for any sign of her.

Police say they have no evidence of any malicious factors in this case.

If you know where Cecelia is, police are asking you to call 911. Do not approach her, as she may run.

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