4 girls missing from foster care facility found safe

- Four girls missing from a foster care facility in Hillsborough County were found safe Friday evening, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said the girls -- ages 4, 10, 11 and 13 -- went missing from A Kid's Place on Lithia Pincecrest Road some time between 10 p.m. Thursday and midnight.

Investigators said the children ran away to a nearby park, then had broken into an abandoned residence by breaking a window. They were there all day and were trying to climb a fence to return to the facility when they were discovered.

"It's a relief because I was up last night until three because I live right across the street and it was amazing that I just found out," said Janet Thilmony. "It's just amazing. I'm just shocked that they're okay and they found them."

According to detectives a staff member noticed the girls were gone during a bed count. Officials said the girls used pillows and other bedding to make it seem like they were in bed, then likely climbed out of a window and either jumped or squeezed through the facility's gate to escape overnight.

Deputies had been knocking on neighbors' doors, searching from the air, reviewing computer records, talking to other children at the facility, and even reviewing surveillance footage from neighboring businesses.

Three of the girls -- Allison, Anabella, and Heavenlynn -- are sisters. They have been in the facility since March.

A Kid's Place is a non-profit organization that provides foster care to abused, neglected, and abandoned children. Through a court ruling, the girls' residence was kept private from their parents.

The sisters' mother, who lives in the West Palm area, put out a plea Friday afternoon, hours before the girls were located.

"We just want our girls home safe sound and we love them and we miss them terribly. We just miss them and we need help, anybody's help," Sara Nelson said at an attorney's office.

Investigators did not say if they've determined why the girls ran away.

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