ORANGE, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A 13-year-old Connecticut girl missing since Sunday has been found safe.
Orange Police Chief Robert Gagne’s announcement Wednesday sparked cheers just as police and the parents of Isabella Oleschuk were about to hold a news conference.
“I’m happy to announce that we’ve changed the subject of this press conference. Isabella has been found. She is safe. We have personnel going out to her right now. We have FBI, police, and a medic going out to check on her,” Gagne said at the Orange Congregational Church.
WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau reports the missing child may have run away.
Gagne said he was “thrilled” to make the announcement.
“We are just…I feel like screaming and dancing. Life come back. Life returns,” a tearful family friend Annette Rubelmann said when she learned of Isabella’s safety.
The seventh grade girl was reported missing Sunday morning. Her disappearance sparked a massive search that included dogs as well as an FBI helicopter and an airplane.
“Whenever there is a mysterious disappearance of a child, the presumption is that it is an abduction until the investigation proves otherwise,” FBI Special Agent Kimberly Mertz told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.
Orange police had urged local residents to keep their eyes open and report anything unusual. On Wednesday morning, about three miles from the girl’s home, a passerby spotted Isabella poking her head outside of a nearby garage.
Orange Police Officer Jude Fedorchuck was the first cop on the scene.
“I did ask her, did she realize there were a lot of people looking for her, and at the time she said she did not know that,” Officer Fedorchuck said.
Police say Isabella ran away with a supply of Pop Tarts and warm blankets. Her father provided little insight as to the reason for her running away.
“She comes from a loving, supporting family that raised her with Christian core values,” father Roman Oleschuk said.
Some have said the girl was bullied at school because she wears a hearing aid.
“No matter what the terms were that she came home, we would celebrate her return – and we will,” family friend Annette Rubelmann said.
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)