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Cullman man drives 2 hours to help search, finds missing DeKalb County girl

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. — The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office confirms a 3-year-old girl who was reported missing on Thursday evening has been found. Deputies tell us Serenity Dawn Sanders was found safely around 7:30 Friday morning roughly about 600 yards from her house.

When she went missing Eric Gilbreath got a call about it. "Your heart just falls out on the floor. My first thought was helping getting out there and looking. I wasn't going to give up," Gilbreath explained.

Gilbreath traveled two hours from his home in Cullman to get to DeKalb County. He knew Serenity because she and his son share the same mom.

He said when he arrived to the wooded area off of County Road 957 he grabbed his spotlight and headed out alone. "I just walked the ridge top, walked halfway down the ridge and walked the bottom of the ridge and went to the next one," Gilbreath said.

He was determined to find her, and after several hours he did along with her dog.

"That dog was still right there by her side. She was standing there behind the tree. I walked behind the tree she said, 'Hey Eric'," Gilbreath said.

After he found her, Gilbreath had trouble finding his way back out. He had to listen to a police siren to find his way out. He said as they walked back Serenity talked the whole way.

"She was talking about her scratches," Gilbreath said.

He also reminded her to never go anywhere without her mom. The 3-year-old was transported to the hospital as a precaution but is expected to be fine.

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