2 children missing 6 hours found safe in Putnam County woods

PALATKA, Fla. – A brother and sister missing in a wooded area of Putnam County were found unharmed Monday afternoon, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The children, a 10-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy, had last been seen in their home at about 5 a.m. Monday, deputies said.

Deputies said the children's father saw them in the home when he left for work, but when their mother woke up a few hours later, they were gone.

Investigators said the two ran away but it's unclear if they knew where they were going.

"We learned that they are safe and we are in the process of interviewing them currently, just trying to get their mindset prior to them leaving and just try to find out a little more about the family dynamics and, mainly, why they left," said Maj. Steve Rose with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

Resources from the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission helped search for the children. A chopper and K-9 tracking teams were called in to help.

Authorities followed footprints, leading them to search the woods off State Road 19 and West Peniel Road, where the children were found Monday afternoon by an FWC officer. Deputies said the children were on a trail about a mile and a half away from their home. 

They had been missing around six hours.

The Florida Department of Children and Families is investigating the case, which is standard procedure when a child runs away. DCF investigators said they're trying to learn more about the children's living situation.

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