According to local authorities, Evelyn “Vadie” Sides, was found safe and well when approached by a rescue team. Her pet dog, Lucy, was by her side.
Her family posted a video to Facebook on Saturday with the child describing the incident: “We took a walk but then I got too fast and got running and got lost and then I started calling for nanny but nanny was too far,”
Vadie added: “I slept by a road one, the first night, and … and the second night I slept where they found me.”
Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said: “Ecstatic may not be a good enough word — it was extremely emotional,”.
“We needed this badly,’ said the sheriff in comments reported by Alabama Local News. “This was really good, solid, positive news in a time when I think people need it the most, with all the medical concerns going on.”
Hundreds of volunteers had joined police officers, drones, helicopters and sniffer dogs in the search following Miss Sides disappearance on Wednesday.
Andrew Peacock, a spokesperson for Lee County Sheriff’s Office said: “The dog was with her protecting her the whole time’’.
The hound dog, Lucy, barked as a search team approached, alerting rescuers to Evelyn’s location before bolting off. The dog later returned home.
Talking to WRBL-TV, a searcher said that the child was talking “like it was no big deal”.
Family and police feared the worst after the child’s caretaker, a 70-year-old family friend, lost sight of her on a walk in Lee County, Alabama.
It is believed that the four-year-old was familiar with the location, although she was far from home.
“I’m so happy and grateful to God for watching over my beautiful granddaughter and bringing her safely back to us,’’ said her grandmother, Harriet Sides.
The incident came five months after the body of an Alabama college student, Aniah Blanchard, was found in the woods.