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Missing 7 year old found - KOAM TV 7

Missing 7 year old found; walked to school that was closed due to weather

JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Updated Tuesday January 11, 2011 at 4:05 PM CST by LISA OLLIGES:  A missing girl, dangerously cold temperatures and a call for help brought out Joplin police in full force today.

Around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday Diana Hughey called police saying her seven year old daughter Megan was missing.

Police brought in dogs to help with the search while other officers investigated around the house at 20th and Virginia.

Authorities feared Megan was in danger of hypothermia.

It turns out Megan had walked more than a mile to her school at 913 Illinois.  She then reached out to Roper Used Car salesman Randy Cahoon for help.

Her mom says she's relieved and grateful.

"I want to thank everybody for looking for her and helping find her," says Hughey.  "I appreciate it.  I really do."

Cahoon was in his daily routine of starting cars on the Roper Used Cars lot when he met little Megan.

"I was stunned when she walked up and grabbed my pants leg," Cahoon tells us.  "I said 'oh, let's get you inside'.  Brought her inside, set her down at the desk, started showing her how to warm her hands up."

Cahoon says Megan was not scared at all, just concerned that school was closed.

"(She) said that mom was still asleep and that her brothers were still asleep that she just got up, gotten up, got dressed for school, and the way she had gotten dressed you could tell she dressed herself," Cahoon says.  "She had on her coat - was on but she didn't zip it up - she  wasn't zipped up.  She didn't have on no hat.  I gave her a stocking cap before she went back.  She asked if she could keep it, I said 'oh yeah, yeah you can  definitely keep it.'"

They chatted about her school - Church Alive - which was just across the street.

Megan had walked nearly a mile and a half from her home to get to the school.

"Big streets - I was amazed she was able to get here, just the street out here with that hill is a very dangerous street to cross," Cahoon says.  "She crossed a lot of big streets to get here."

"She was going to school and the thing is I drive her to school so I don't know why she left like that," says Megan's mom.  "Fortunately she was found pretty quick, but the temperature's enough where you could have some hypothermia issues."

But it wasn't just the cold her mother feared.

"That and it's just not safe for kids to be out," says Diana.

But smart little Megan made friends at Roper.

Cahoon took her picture.

Plus, he and his sales manager, Fred Cundiff, bought her breakfast before trying to help her find home.

But the severity of what could have happened even hit the heart of the salesmen.

"I'm relieved - I'm thankful - I thank God that she's home safe, that she's not hurt," says Diana.

Cahoon says Megan was pretty smart and had them close to her house when they saw an officer looking for her and flagged him down.

Cahoon says it is the officers who answered the call to search who are the real heroes.

Police say Megan appears to be fine.

Posted Tuesday January 11, 2011 at 12:12PM CST:  Even with school closed today one Joplin girl decided to walk there anyway.

Police say seven-year-old Megan Hughey's mom reported her missing this morning around 7:30 a.m.

Megan walked more than a mile to the Church Alive school.  When she discovered it was closed she crossed the street and got the attention of a salesman on the Roper used car lot.

After learning her name, the sales staff gave the girl food and were driving her home when they saw an officer looking for Megan.

She is now home safe and sound to a grateful mom.

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