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Local parent joins search for missing 11-year-old — then sees ‘flash of pink’ in woods

Raleigh News and Observer
A community member heard that a local 11-year-old girl had gone missing in Virginia and decided to help search for her.

That decision helped reunite a family.

The young girl was reported missing the evening of March 18 when she wandered from home after playing with her siblings, Chesterfield County police said in a news conference broadcast by WWBT.

The child, who police say has an intellectual disability, was seen on Ring camera walking toward the road, police said

Rescuers couldn’t find her that night, and tracking dogs eventually lost her scent, according to the police captain. Authorities put out alerts for the child and asked community members to help search for her.

Kevin Zavinsky heard the call and wanted to help out.

“I’m a stay-at-home parent and I got some free time and, honestly, I just wanted to get out and do what I could,” Zavinsky told WWBT. “I would want someone to do that if it was either of my children.”

Capt. Pete Cimbal said search and rescue efforts were going to focus on ponds and drainage areas, as the missing girl may have been drawn to water.

That’s where Zavinsky searched as well, heading to an area called Falling Creek.

“I saw it was a cool area, Falling Creek, and if I was a kid that’s where I’d be,” he told WWBT.

He said he was crossing a small stream when he saw “that flash of pink.”

It was the missing child, who had endured temperatures in the low 40s overnight.

In the middle of speaking with local news outlets, police got the call that Zavinsky had found the girl. She was “cold and scraped up but otherwise OK,” police said.

“We are still relieved and over the moon that Isabelle was found safe yesterday,” Chesterfield County police said in a news release the next day. “And we are deeply thankful for the care and concern shown by our community.”

Chesterfield County is part of the greater Richmond metropolitan area.

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