VANDENBERG VILLAGE, Calif. - Two 8-year old girls are back with their families today. The two cousins were missing for a few hours after wandering off in Vandenberg Village last night. About 100 community members gathered to search for the girls.
Central Coast News learned that the ones responsible for finding the missing girls weren't part of the organized search by the Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Department.
Two men who live in Vandenberg Village went out on their own search and rescue mission and found the girls about an hour before rescue crews were able to locate them. Clifford Leyva was at home last night when he received an emergency alert about 2 girls missing in a hiking area near his house in Vandenberg Village. It wasn't long before Leyva's neighbor, Troy DeBaise, contacted him.
"I got a text from Troy a few minutes later. I said 'yeah I know about the girls'. He said 'do you want to find them?' I said 'sure'."
Rescue crews were setting up near Cabrillo High School a couple blocks away, but the two grabbed their flashlights and went a different route to the trails near their house.
"We knew where they were starting. But Troy had an idea to start somewhere else. It was just easier for us because we live over here."
The two men were a step ahead of the rescue crews that were gathering citizens near the high school to begin the search. After about an hour of searching, the two men found footprints on the trail that ultimately led them to the missing girls. They called 911 so that rescue crews could find them on the trails.
"We were just fortunate. It was just the way it happened. Troy just said 'lets go look'. And we started. And we found them in an hour and 20 minutes."
Leyva said that the two girls didn't seem overly frightened when they found them but they were very tired and hungry.
Wednesday, June 5 2013 5:40 PM EDT2013-06-05 21:40:27 GMT
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Photo Courtesy: Cinda Price
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