MACHIAS, Maine — It was a happy ending this Mother’s Day for a Machias family after their 4-year-old daughter wandered off into a thickly wooded area near her Elm Street home Sunday afternoon.

Authorities are not releasing the name of the family, but Tim Mace of the Machias Police Department said the little girl found her way back home after being missing for 2 1/2 hours.

“The family was outside playing and doing their thing and mom and dad just turned their back for a second and she was gone,” Mace said Sunday evening. “She ended up wandering back home on her own.”

The little girl was reported missing to the Machias police around 3 p.m., Mace said.

The Maine Warden Service took control of the search with assistance from the Machias police and the Maine State Police, according to Mace.

“The wardens are really the heroes here,” he said. “They ran the show [and] the state police had a K-9 unit on the way.”

The Maine Forest Service also responded with rangers searching on the ground and from above in a helicopter.

The property is about 200 feet from a body of water and Mace said marine patrol was preparing to launch a boat.

Other than a few bug bites, the little girl appeared fine, but shy, Mace said.

“She was not the most talkative, but I did get her to finally wave to me,” he said. “The parents were overjoyed.”

Mace said the girl’s father was very apologetic after seeing so many people respond to the call for help.

The officer stressed everyone involved would rather be safe than sorry.

“We’d rather have everything we have brought to bear when it comes to looking for a small child,” he said.

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Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.