Missing 9-year-old girl Northside girl found safe early Saturday

Camille Corbett had been hiding at grandmother's home

9-year-old Camille Corbett
9-year-old Camille Corbett

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has announced that Camille Corbett has been found safe and returned to her family just after 2:30 am. Saturday.

The girl's father, Abraham Corbett ,told News4Jax exclusively that the girl was hiding nearby at her grandmother's house, saying she got in through the doggy door. 

Corbett said his daughter got in trouble and she hid under her grandma's bed all day. Her family is glad she's safe.

"My daughter left the house early yesterday morning around 5:00 in the morning  She got in trouble and her mother told her, 'You’re going to get in more trouble when dad gets home.' She took it upon herself to run to grandmas house, so thankfully her grandma lives close by. She ran, hid in the back, slipped through the doggy door, hid in the house so thankfully she is safe," Corbett said.

Corbett spoke with News4Jax exclusively and was overjoyed that his daughter is back where she belongs.

"I’d like to thank the news, the neighborhood, the police officers and everybody was involved in helping, as I was riding around, I just seen so many people in the community just doing work.  It was just like I had a family of 10,000 people," Abraham Corbett said. 

Corbett said his daughter was hiding under the bed at her Grandma's house, when she was found before dawn Saturday and  he got the happy news.

"My wife jumped out of the bed, woke me up, grabbed the keys, grabbed the van and just split. I'm like, 'What about me?' So I had to wake the baby up and my oldest daughter and we came around and I followed her so that was that," Corbett said.

Prior to the happy reunion was a parents' worst nightmare. A massive search was underway for the missing 9-year-old.

It unfolded in a way that had many people concerned about the whereabouts and safety of Corbett. The search included several agencies, all with one goal in mind: to find the girl and bring her home safely.

Here's how it played out:

Police, an urban search and rescue team, a state K-9 officer and the dive team had been searching for a 9-year-old girl who disappeared from a Northside Jacksonville home since early Friday morning.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office responded to the area of 8th Avenue and Prospect Street at 8:10 a.m. Officers were told that Camille was believed to have left a home in the area about 5 a.m.

Camille's grandmother, Lourdes Heard, said her granddaughter was at her home Thursday night. Heard said she learned from her daughter about 5:45 a.m. that the girl was missing and she ran to help look for her.

"When we could not find her, we called 911," Heard said. "I miss her very much. I always pick her up after school. I have to wait at the bus stop for her around 3:30. So I wish those people who got Camille
(will) return her to us, because she is our joy, you know."

Despite Heard's remarks, police have not said that they suspect foul play.

A Sheriff's Office helicopter searched the Riverview neighborhood for several hours. News4Jax crews also found several officers at the T.K. Stokes Boat Ramp, along the Ribault River, where a Florida Department of Corrections K-9 team arrived just before 1 p.m.

Shortly after, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department's urban search and rescue team joined the effort. Then, firefighters and police launched multiple boats in the river. By late afternoon, the JSO dive team also had officers in the water.

IMAGES: Multiple agencies search neighborhood, water for missing girl

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued a statewide missing child alert for Camille just after 3:30 p.m.

"I’m hoping that enough people can get together and we can comb the streets and comb wherever we need to comb to find this little girl," resident Breana Jernigan said.

Community members and neighbors did step in to help.

"I’ve been driving around since early this morning looking for her. I’ve been searching abandoned houses, looking in wooded places, just looking," resident Sylvia Strong said. “Imagine what she’s going through, being afraid and not knowing. I encourage anybody who is listening, who cares, to please come out and help.”

The Sheriff's Office told News4Jax on Friday evening that it will "continually rotate officers as needed in an effort to continue the search throughout the night" and into Saturday. 

Police ask that anyone who knows of Camille's whereabouts or anyone who has seen her to call the Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500 or 911.


Amber Alert criteria

Many concerned viewers messaged News4Jax, wanting to know why an Amber Alert was not issued for this case.

Five criteria must be met for an Amber Alert to be activated. In this case, there was no clear indication of an abduction, meaning an Amber Alert could be issued.

According to the FDLE, to activate an Amber Alert, the following five criteria must be met:

  • The child must be under 18 years of age.
  • There must be a clear indication of an abduction.
  • The law enforcement agency's preliminary investigation must conclude that the child's life is in danger.
  • There must be a detailed description of the child, abductor and/or vehicle to broadcast to the public.
  • The activation must be recommended by the local law enforcement agency of jurisdiction.

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