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Missing girl found, safe, in Iron County

10:54 PM, Nov 10, 2012   |    comments
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Iron County, MO. ( KSDK ) --

Searchers in Iron County have located a young girl who spent nearly eight hours lost in a dense forest.

Six-year-old MacKenzie Hurt was brought to the command post at Highway E near County Road 134, shortly after 2 pm. She appeared to be physically fine.

MacKenzie had been with her father on a deer hunting trip.

Passersby in a van spotted MacKenzie, shouted out to her, and delivered her to sheriff's deputies.

Iron County Sheriff Roger Medley said, "They got separated. If you look around you can see how thick the woods are. She lost her coat, he went back to pick it up, and they got separated. He looked for her for about an hour and when he couldn't find her called our office and we activated our emergency search and rescue."

MacKenzie's father, Bill Hurt said his daughter was pretty excited because it was her first time deer hunting.

"We went down to our spot and she lost her vest," said Hurt. "So I sat her down at our spot and walked behind a tree, maybe a couple yards behind a tree to find her vest. Turned around and she was gone."

Bill Hurt said he was beside himself with worry.

"I started walking circles around this mountain, screaming her name. Probably walked 20 miles today, screaming her name.

Venita Ratliff is MacKenzie's grandmother.

Ratliff said, "I said, 'You know everybody was praying for you, God was watching over you.' And she looked at me and said, 'I know, I talked to God.' I said, 'You talked to God in the woods?' and she said, 'Yeah.'"

Mackenzie's sister, Elizabeth Russell, said, "She was telling me she was so worried so I asked her why, and she said, 'I thought my life was over and I was only 6!'"

Sheriff Medley said more than 100 people turned out to search for MacKenzie, including Missouri State Troopers, park rangers, and conservation agents. They also had helicopters from Arch, and Air Evac Lifeteam.

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