Parents “Overjoyed” at Missing Toddler’s Safe Return

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BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — As the community and law enforcement celebrate the rescue of 2-year-old Amber Smith, her family is overwhelmed with gratitude.

FOX 17 spoke with them Wednesday shortly after they learned their daughter was safe. They told us it was the best day of their lives. “We just kept my hope that we’d find her alive, and I got that,” Diane Smith, Amber’s mother, said.

After spending roughly a day alone in the dark and the cold in Manistee National Forest, Amber only has a few scrapes and bruises.

Diane and Dale, Amber’s dad, say they can’t thank the volunteers enough for continuing to search until they found Amber.

Hundreds from all over the state searched by air and foot through the night, scouring the heavily wooded area near their home in Newaygo County’s Barton Township, northwest of Big Rapids.

“(I) didn’t know whether or not she was going to be alive or dead, and you have that stuff going through your mind,” Diane said.  But she never doubted Amber would be found safe, she said.

The toddler was wearing only a tank top in the 45-degree weather overnight.

Doctors are keeping Amber in the hospital overnight Wednesday for observation.

Amber was playing with her dogs when she disappeared at 2 p.m. Tuesday, and, her parents say, she keeps asking if she can go home and play with her dogs.

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