Child, 6, found after frantic overnight search

Child, 6, found after frantic overnight search

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Six-year-old Emily Moody, the subject of a frantic, overnight search, is safe in Jackson County. It all began around 1am when the child's father reported her missing from a trailer at the Martin Lake Resort in St. Martin.

Prayers for the missing child were abundant in the gloomy darkness. So were a mother's tears. Dogs and drones were used to comb the area, and volunteers from Gulf Coast Search and Rescue rushed in to help.

"We have about 10 members out here now and we have dogs that are certified in search and rescue and that's all the resources we have at the moment," Owen Hines explained.

Sixty sheriff's deputies were also there, but relatives, like grandmother Cathie Moody, feared the worst.

"Who had her? What were they doing to her? Was she dead or alive? Were we ever going to see her again?" Cathie Moody said, remembering all the thoughts that went through her mind.

Emily's father, Blake Moody, recalled what happened. "Everything was normal. I woke up to Vanessa coming home from work to an empty couch, nothing there. But I know she's coming home."

Emily's mother, Vanessa, was so distraught she had to be taken to the hospital for observation. Then the good news came: Emily was found safe.

"My ex-husband came and got her, grandfather came and got her, and apparently, nobody knew," Cathie Moody said. "I don't know, I wasn't here, I don't live here."

Even with the child safe, there are still a lot of questions, and few answers. John Ledbetter is the chief deputy with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

"The investigation continues with our CID division. They're looking into why the events happened they way they did and how the child got from this point to the grandparents' house."

He added that criminal charges could be coming.

"It is a possibility and that's what we're looking into right now, if that's going to be something that we're going to pursue," Ledbetter said.

For now though, everyone will relish the happy ending to what might have been a tragedy.

Sheriff's officials said they hope to conclude the investigation by Friday afternoon. The case has also been referred over to the State Department of Human Services.

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