TAMPA, Fla. – The Latest on four girls who ran away from a foster home near Tampa, Florida. (all times local):
Officials say four girls who apparently ran away from a foster home near Tampa put pillows under their sheets to make it look like they were in bed.
But staff members at A Kids Place discovered the girls — ages 13, 11, 10 and 4 — missing during a bed check Thursday just before midnight. They had last been seen at 10 p.m.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Col. Donna Lusczynski said at a news conference that law enforcement officials searched door-to-door in the rural neighborhood east of Tampa. They're also checking with the relatives of the girls. The younger three are sisters, who've been at the facility since March. The older child has been there since February.
Lusczynski says they're interviewing children and staff at the home. She says at least two girls had discussed running away with other children.
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.