BRANDON, Fla. (AP) — Authorities were searching Friday for four foster children who were discovered missing from their beds during head count at a private foster care home near Tampa.
Officials at A Kids Place believe the girls — ages 13, 11, 10 and 4 — climbed out a window between 10 p.m. Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Debbie Carter said in a news release. Then, they either scaled a fence or were able to squeeze through an opening at the gate.
Carter said 4-year-old Allison Nelson, 10-year-old Anabella Gonzalez and 11-year-old Heavenlynn Gonzalez are sisters. They are with 13-year-old Ashlyn Smith.
Officials at the home told authorities they didn’t know what the girls were wearing when they disappeared. They have no medical issues or disabilities and don’t take any medication.
A woman who answered the phone at A Kids Place declined to answer a reporter’s questions.
A Kids Place opened in 2009. Then, it was described in local news reports as a $5.2-million, 60-bed facility that serves as a temporary shelter for children from birth to 17. The facility is where law enforcement brings children in the first traumatic hours after they are removed from their homes.