Emily Dowdle missing North Carolina

Emily Dowdle: FBI Searching For Girl Who Vanished After Getting Off School Bus [Breaking]

An 11-year-old girl disappeared on Tuesday after getting off of a Catawba County, North Carolina, school bus at around 2:40 p.m., police say. Authorities are still looking for her.

CBS Crimesider reports that Emily, who attends Catawba Elementary School, was last seen wearing Capri jeans, pink Nike athletic shoes, and a pink shirt. She has light brown hair, hazel eyes, stands five feet tall, weighs around 75 pounds, and wears black-rimmed glasses.

The school bus driver told police that Emily got off of the bus as she does daily and that nothing seemed amiss as she walked toward the back of her home off of Hudson Chapel Road, which she does daily. Emily’s mother returned home 15 minutes later, and after searching the home and area, she called the police when she couldn’t find her daughter. She also called the school district and let administrators know that Emily was missing. The school district put out alerts.

Emily Dowdle, 11, has been missing since Tuesday. She disappeared after getting off of a Chatawa County school bus. [Photo by the North Carolina FBI]
Emily Dowdle, 11, has been missing since Tuesday. She disappeared after getting off of a Chatawa County school bus. [Image by North Carolina FBI]

On Wednesday at 7 a.m., emergency crews began searching for Emily around her home area. Two separate K-9 searches took place shortly after, but so far, there’s no word of any clues or leads regarding Emily’s whereabouts.

The FBI and NC State Bureau Investigation are involved as well, and they took pictures of the family’s RV and home on Wednesday morning. Catawba County officials stated that they don’t think foul play is involved, and they’ve labeled it a “runaway missing persons case.”

Catawba Police Chief Dwane Coozen stated, “The investigation is geared towards her safety and there’s some things we just can’t disclose at this time because we don’t want to jeopardize what we are concerned of at this time.”

Authorities are currently interviewing Emily’s schoolmates, and a roadblock was set up near the family home at 2:00 p.m.

Coozen said, “We’ve done searches, we’ve done two dog searches, we did a canvas of the neighborhood. My concern is that she is 11 years old. She’s out there…it’s a different world than what is was years ago. The survival part…knowing how to cope with things she may run into.”

WCNC reports that a neighbor told police that Emily previously missed nine days of school, and the school district failed to notify her parents of her absences. She had just returned back to school on Tuesday when she disappeared before making it home. There is a possibility that Emily may have thought she was in trouble for missing school, WBTV reports. She didn’t have a cellphone and had no money on her at the time of the disappearance.

So far, the family hasn’t issued a public statement regarding the disappearance. Emily lives with her mother, stepfather, and a sister. A mother from a neighboring town, Angie Powers, told reporters she drove over to help with the search because she has children the same age as Emily.

However, an FBI spokesperson indicated that they do not want volunteers to help search at this time. Instead, anyone with information on the whereabouts of Emily Dowdle should contact the Catawba County Sheriff’s Department at 828-464-3112. The story is still ongoing, so please check back for additional updates.


The FBI reports that Emily was found on Wednesday night, at around 9:00 p.m., in a wooded area near her family’s home. She’s safe and was checked out by medics shortly after authorities found her. Additional details are expected to be released on Thursday morning or afternoon.

“She is safe, will be checked out by medics,” said and FBI spokesperson. “Our thanks go out to hundreds of law enforcement, fire fighters, and other first responders.”

[Featured Image by Catawba County Police Department]