Three children reported missing from their homes in a swampy area of rural South Carolina were found safe Thursday morning at a nearby home, sheriff's deputies said.
Colleton County Lt. Shane Roberts said the youngsters were found after a search in near Interstate 95, about 60 miles northwest of Charleston.
About 40 law deputies and other law enforcement officers had searched for the children, ages 2, 3 and 4, who were reported missing after playing outside in their yard late Wednesday afternoon.
The missing youngsters were identified as 4-year-old Mya Campbell and her 2-year-old sister Shamyra Campbell, and 3-year-old Eugene McTeer, their cousin.
Family and neighbors had searched for about 20 minutes before calling 911. The search continued until about 2 a.m. Thursday and then resumed about five hours later.
An airplane and helicopter were used in the search, and Wildlife Department workers could be seen riding all-terrain vehicles along a road Thursday morning. The media was being kept about a mile from the cluster of homes near a sheriff's department command post.
Some relatives had told local media they were concerned the youngsters might have been abducted.
"The initial statements we got on scene were that it was a case of wandering," Roberts said. Later, when family members mentioned a possible abduction "we deployed resources to try to follow that up as well," Roberts said. "There is nothing at this point to indicate they have been abducted."
He said the terrain hampered the search.
"It's a very dense area -- a lot of briar thickets. And then there are the low bottoms. With all the rain we have had over the past year it is a very swampy area," he said.