Missing Southside, W.Va. girl found unharmed

Beth Sergent - [email protected]

SOUTHSIDE, W.Va. — A Southside girl who went missing Tuesday evening emerged unharmed Wednesday morning, according to the Mason County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Greg Powers said his department was notified about a missing child around 9 p.m. Tuesday in the area of Jeffers Ridge Road in Southside.

Powers said 7-year old Deliah Clark, of 2030 Jeffers Ridge Road, went missing around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday. She reportedly left her family’s home with her two dogs to see her great-grandfather who lives nearby. Her great-grandfather reported she did visit and left but never returned home. At first, family and friends began the search before calling law enforcement at around 9 p.m., Powers said.

Powers explained the effort to find Clark did not just consist of his department, but was an effort involving multiple agencies as well as volunteers. Powers said troopers with the Mason County Detachment of the West Virginia State Police, as well as troopers from other detachments were on scene with a bloodhound and with a special helicopter equipped to pick up body heat on the ground. In addition, firefighters from the Point Pleasant Fire Department, as well as dogs from the Point Pleasant Police Department and Barboursville Police Department were on scene to assist. Law enforcement went door to door, checking homes and in the woods looking for the girl as well.

The search was halted about 5 a.m. Wednesday morning to reassess and review what else could be done to find the child. Powers said he and his deputies met to discuss a timeline of events, to go over interviews and resources before heading back out for the day. There were arrangements to bring the WVSP helicopter back to do more flyovers and to have divers from Jackson County search a pond on a farm.

Then, around 8 a.m. Wednesday, Clark emerged with her two dogs, spotted by a member of the sheriff’s department walking on Jeffers Ridge Road, Powers said. The girl was placed into a squad car and later taken to a local hospital for an examination and she appeared to be unharmed, Powers said.

The sheriff added Clark was interviewed by a specialist trained to interview children and her story was consistent — that story being she chased after a dog who went running into the woods Tuesday night, apparently got lost and fell asleep.

“We have no reason to believe any foul play was involved,” Powers said, adding the case appears to be closed at this point.

The incident triggered a massive deployment of resources to find the missing child and the response was warranted, according to Powers, who gave praise to this group effort which included not only his department but other agencies and volunteers.

“When a child goes missing, we’re going to do whatever we’ve got to do to find them,” he said.

Beth Sergent

[email protected]

Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.

Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.