BARTON TWP. (WWJ/AP) – Authorities say a 2-year-old girl has been found safe after she wandered away from her home in a heavily wooded area of western Michigan.

An alert was issued Tuesday for Amber Smith and hundreds of volunteer searchers aided the search.

She was found Wednesday afternoon, standing along a two-track lane near the edge of the Manistee National Forest, north of Grand Rapids — almost two miles from her home.

“Our officers go through extensive training to locate lost persons in the woods, and they are experts in the areas where they work, knowing the terrain better than anyone,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. “In this case, a team of our officers helped search overnight and into the morning for this missing little girl, and we were successful in locating her alive, with just some minor cuts and bruises.”

The girl was reported missing Tuesday afternoon from her home in Newaygo County’s Barton Township, near the edge of the Manistee National Forest and about 55 miles north of Grand Rapids. Helicopters, four wheelers and dogs were being used as part of the search.

The girl’s father told WOOD-TV that she was able to open the front door of their home by herself. He said he noticed Amber, who has a severe mental/physical disability, was missing around 1:30 p.m.

WOOD reported the search was started as one square mile, but broadened late Tuesday. Crews from neighboring Kent County also joined the search.

Amber’s parents said she has wandered away in the past, and once they found her at a neighbor’s house.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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