The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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July 8, 2009

Little girl lost is found

Frantic search has happy ending

PYMATUNING TOWNSHIP — A favorite childhood game is banned from the Jasmer household after 2-year-old Natalie proved herself the hide-and-seek champion.

Natalie went missing Tuesday evening while playing the game with her brother and sisters and the best efforts of neighbors, police and firefighters called by her frantic parents weren’t enough to turn up the tot.

The terrifying ordeal for her parents ended happily after more than an hour of scouring the neighborhood around the 10th Street mobile home park where the Jasmers live.

In the end, it was the family dog that flushed her out.

“Copper found her,” Natalie’s brother Kenny Findley said, crediting the mutt with discovering the tiny girl asleep inside a drawer underneath the washing machine in the family’s home.

Natalie’s family was obviously relieved but still visibly shaken after she was found. Six-year-old Delynn Jasmer continued to cry after her little sister was discovered.

“I was scared we were never going to find her” Delynn said.

“I’m sorry,” the sweet-faced blonde told those who crowded around her in the family’s living room about 7:15 p.m.

Natalie’s mother Michelle Jasmer said Natalie and her siblings were playing hide-and-seek at about 6 p.m. and the family thought she had gone outside with Delynn.

Dad Dennis Jasmer said Natalie’s siblings told him she had been tired, so he feared she’d wandered into the woods, lay down by a tree and nodded off.

“I tore the house apart. I looked everywhere,” Jasmer said. “I walked around and around and around.”

It seemed like everyone in the neighborhood helped look for the girl and police were called about 6:45 p.m. after she was still not found, Pymatuning Township patrolman Mike Brown said.

“The neighbors were out searching all over,” Brown said, adding that he was “very impressed with the community.”

Jasmer was grateful they came together to look for his daughter.

“At least it makes you feel kind of good. If something happens, everyone pitches in,” Jasmer said.

Mrs. Jasmer said the kids are no longer allowed to play hide-and-seek.

“That game is forever stricken,” Jasmer agreed.

A K-9 search team was also at the scene along with Transfer volunteer firefighters Greenville and Hempfield Township police.

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