Eight-year-old Leia Carrico and her 5-year-old sister, Caroline, were following a deer trail outside their home in Northern California. The pair of sisters, armed with rubber boots and snacks, ended up wandering farther and farther away until they got lost in the cold and rainy wilderness.
Leia and Caroline disappeared on a Friday and the tireless search soon began. Involved in the massive effort was the National Guard, firefighters, search and rescue dogs, helicopters and military agencies.
As the hours passed, the girls became more susceptible to starvation, dehydration and/or hypothermia while stranded in the “extreme environment” of the rugged forest.
Thankfully, Leia and Caroline both had survival experience from their participation in their local 4-H club. Though loved ones and rescue crews didn’t know it at the time, these skills were proving invaluable to the girls’ survival as days turned into nights.
44 hours after Leia and Caroline’s disappearance, firefighters discovered a trail of boot prints and granola bar wrappers in the woods, about 1.5 miles away from home. “The wrappers showed us a direction from where they started to where the wrappers ended up at,” Lt. Mike Fridley told CBS.
There, huddled together under a bush, were the missing sisters. And they have an incredible story to tell.