Girls lost in woods found safe

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:45 PM

The children of Jay and Misty Meinke, 14081 Hickory St., used their friend’s phone when they got turned around on a trail while exploring behind their house, according to 9-year-old Skye.

“We went to the power lines and went too far,” Skye told her dad as her mom continuously hugged her three girls. “We were running and got turned around."

Raven, 7, said: “She made us go and look for frogs.”

Ottawa County Central Dispatch received a call from the lost girls, ages 7-11, at about 6:45 p.m. One of the girls has asthma and was having difficulty breathing.

Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies and Crockery Township firefighters responded to the scene and started searching the swampy, wooded area. A request was sent out for a state police or Coast Guard helicopter, which ended up not being needed.

Officials said the girls could hear the sirens from the emergency vehicles, which gave the girls a direction to head to.

Jay Meinke said the girls weren’t gone that long when he received a call saying they were lost in the woods.

“They said, 'Just stay here,'” he said. “The wife went out to find them. She followed their tracks right to them.”

Meinke said it wasn’t difficult to spot them, considering the bright-pink bathing suits worn by two of the girls.

“Ain’t many pink deer in the woods,” he said, smiling.

Once the girls were located, emergency personnel — including a North Ottawa Community Hospital paramedic — walked through dense swarms of mosquitos to meet up with them and make sure they were OK.

“They could’ve just got me and I could have gone right out there,” the father said.

Skye said her friend had accidentally locked the phone off and didn’t have any minutes to use.

“She could only call 911,” Skye said.

“They made it home safe, so that’s a good thing,” their father said. “We probably won’t let them in the woods no more.”


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