A 9-year-old New Mexico girl was found Saturday morning by two female bicyclists on a hillside in Samuel P. Taylor State Park nearly 21 hours after she was last seen, the sheriff’s office reported.
The bicyclist heard the girl, Ida Rothschild, “crying for her mom” at about 8:58 a.m. June 14 on a slope off of a trail in the northern end of the park, according to Marin County sheriff’s Lt. Doug Pittman.
The women called 911 on a cellphone, gave the girl some water and waited with her for about 30 minutes before Marin county fire personnel reached them, Pittman said.
“She was in good spirits,” Pittman said. “She said she was hungry.”
The girl had wandered about a mile and a half from her parent’s campsite in the park shortly after noon June 13, which was the last time her father said he had seen her, sheriff’s search and rescue unit leader Michael St. John said.
The man and his wife, from Santa Fe, N.M., searched for their daughter for more than an hour before calling authorities for help, deputies said.
Pittman said the two women who found Ida live in the unincorporated San Geronimo area, only a couple of miles from the state park, which is about six miles west of Fairfax.
The cyclists knew about the search for Ida and decided to ride their bikes to the park with the idea of “who knows, maybe we’ll find this girl,” Pittman said.
About 200 search and rescue personnel were in the park Saturday morning to resume the well-publicized hunt for Ida that began yesterday.
After reaching Ida, Marin fire paramedics took her to the command post set up for the search, gave her bananas and apples to eat and examined her for medical clearance, Pittman said.
St. John said the paramedics found her in good condition aside for some scrapes she got from walking against brush.
Ida was soon greeted by her mother and father, who brought along her younger brothers, aged 5 and 2. The reunion was both touching and amusing, Pittman said.
When the family walked in, her mother, said jokingly “Ida, where have you been?”
Ida then replied firmly, “Mom, I’m fine,” Pittman said.
Pittman said the area where Ida was located had been searched earlier that day, but she told authorities she kept moving throughout the night and morning, which authorities anticipated and planned to look there again this afternoon.
Ida never had anything to eat or drink during the ordeal and told searchers that “she didn’t sleep, was walking all night,” hoping to happen onto her parent’s camp, Pittman said.
“She said she lost track of where she was” on Friday in the park which has thick redwood groves, Pittman said. “She could no longer see the campground.”
The U.S. Park Service made one of its cabins at the park available for Ida and her family to relax in and stay for the night, Pittman said.
With the ponds and creeks in the park, the sheriff’s office had to bring in divers to aid in the search, but they were never used, St. John said.
The sheriff’s departments that sent search and rescue teams to the park today to join Marin’s included those from Solano, Sonoma, Napa, Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Monterey counties, St. John said.
Marin county fire, Cal Fire, the Marin County Water Rescue Team and Marin sheriff’s detectives and investigators were also there.
Authorities were gratified by the successful search, St. John said.
“We’ve had some that ended differently,” he said. “It’s good this had a different outcome.”