Watch Fla. Deputies Find Missing Autistic Girl in Swamp

Feb. 29, 2024
Body camera footage captured the moment Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies located a 5-year-old autistic who had gone missing when she wandered off into a wooded, swampy area near Tampa.

The search for a missing 5-year-old autistic girl had a happy ending when Florida deputies found her in a swamp earlier this week.

Hillborough County sheriff's deputies responded to a call shortly after 5 p.m. Monday concerning a girl who had wandered off into a wooded, swampy area near Tampa, according to a sheriff's office news release. The agency deployed its Aviation Unit to help locate the girl.

Using thermal imaging, deputies found the girl walking through a heavily wooded area with as she was approaching a potentially dangerous body of water.

“Hey, I think I got her in the woods,” a member of the Aviation Unit is heard telling deputies. “She might be able to hear her name if you call her. She might be about 80 feet in front of you.”

Body camera footage captured the moment when deputies finally reached the girl.

“Let’s get you out of the water," a deputy tells the girl. "I’ll get you to everyone.”

The girl was uninjured, and she was reunited with her parents.

“(Deputies') quick action saved the day, turning a potential tragedy into a hopeful reunion,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “Their dedication shows what service and protection are all about here at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.”

About the Author

Joe Vince

Joining Endeavor Business Media in 2018, Joe has worked on the company's city services publications. He began working at as the assistant editor. Before starting at Endeavor, Joe had worked for a variety of print and online news outlets, including the Indianapolis Star, the South Bend Tribune, Reddit and

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