Police: Smithfield girl wandered off during recess, found safe


SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) ─ What started as a frantic search for an elementary school student in Smithfield ended with a sigh of relief after she was found a couple hours after she went missing.

Smithfield Police tell Eyewitness News the 9-year-old girl wandered off from recess at Old County Road School.

Students told police they saw the fourth grader walk into the nearby woods and out of sight.

After receiving a tip from someone nearby, police were able to find the girl down the street from the school.

The student was taken back to the school and evaluated by EMS before being reunited with her parents.

Superintendent Judy Paolucci said she’s thankful for the happy ending, adding that it could’ve been worse.

“It always can happen, eyes are always on our students, but there are much more of them then there are of us,” Paolucci said. “She walked off into the woods and probably didn’t realize she would get as much attention from that than she did.”

Paolucci tells Eyewitness News she will use this as a reminder for students to always report something that they feel isn’t right.

“Helping the students understand that they should let us know right away when something is wrong is important,” Paolucci said. “That’s going to be much better than any type of fence.”

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