Game Warden Jake Voter seen with K9 Koda. They found a missing 11-year-old Monday. Credit: Courtesy of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Most kids aren’t thrilled to go back to school on a Monday, but few go to the same lengths to avoid class as one young Damariscotta girl who decided to hide 20 feet up in a tree rather than crack her books.

The girl was apparently upset about going to school and walked out the door around 8:15 a.m., according to Mark Latti, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Her mother assumed she had gone to the car, but when she stepped outside, she realized her daughter was gone.

When her family and friends and local police couldn’t find the girl, the Maine Warden Service was summoned to help and joined the search around 11:30 a.m., Latti said Monday night.

Nearly six hours after the girl went missing, around 2 p.m., Game Warden Jake Voter saw Koda the dog circling a pine tree only 200 feet from his parked truck.

It didn’t take Voter long to spot the young girl about 20 feet up the tree. She asked Voter what his dog’s name was, and decided to climb down to see Koda, according to Latti.

The girl played with Koda briefly and then was escorted out of the woods and reunited with her family.

Braeden Waddell is a reporter covering Belfast and Waldo County. He grew up in Waldoboro and joined the Bangor Daily News in 2023 after working as an associate producer for National Public Radio. He graduated...