Missing Catawba girl returns home

by cigi sparks

After missing for almost 30 hours, Emily Dowdle, 11, of Catawba, has been found. 
Dowdle went missing on Tuesday afternoon around 2:45 p.m. after being dropped off by the school bus at her house on Hudson Chapel Road, according to FBI Public Affairs Specialist Shelley Lynch. When Dowdle’s mother got home and couldn’t find her daughter, she called police. Dowdle was reported missing via a 911 call to Catawba County Communications around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Wednesday night, around 9:30 p.m., Dowdle walked out of the woods behind her home, police say.
“She was in good health and good spirits,” said Catawba Police Chief Dwane Coozen. “She was clean, not dirty, and seems to have been fed – she was your typical 11-year-old girl last night (Wednesday).”
Wednesday night, following Dowdle’s reappearance, investigators began conducting interviews with the girl and her family. Department of Social Services officials were also interviewing Dowdle and her family on Wednesday night. Interviews were also conducted yesterday, according to Coozen. 
“At this point, we don’t know if she was with somebody – we don’t really know where she was,” Coozen said. “We don’t believe she was hiding in the woods the whole time – her condition did not indicate that.”
Throughout the search, investigators were treating Dowdle’s case as a possible runaway. 
Dowdle had reportedly not been in attendance at school for nine days prior to her disappearance and knew that she was in trouble for not going to school, according to officials.
Multiple resources were utilized while searching for Dowdle, including helicopter search, K-9 searches and ground searches. Also, FBI officials and local law enforcement were stationed at roads near Catawba Elementary School Wednesday afternoon asking passerby if they had seen the girl. Officials also set up a road check between 2 and 4 p.m. yesterday near Dowdle’s home on Hudson Chapel Road to ask locals if they had any information or if they’d seen any suspicious activity in the area.
The Catawba Police Department was the main agency investigating Dowdle’s case, along with assistance from the FBI, SBI, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Claremont Police, Hickory Police, Conover Police, Newton Police, Catawba Fire Department, Catawba Rescue Squad, the N.C. License and Theft Bureau, and more.  
The O-N-E will continue to update this story as more information is made available.