DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) - Relatives say the safe return of a 5-year-old and her great-grandmother missing since Christmas Eve was an answered prayer.
The Briley family released a statement confirming LaMyra and 71-year-old Barbara were found safe and thanking everyone for their help.
"On behalf of the Briley family we are happy to confirm that Barbara and LaMyra Briley have been found. Thank you everyone who has assisted our family during this time," the Facebook post said. "Our prayers have been answered. We ask at this time if you will respect our privacy and a formal statement will be issued later. God bless you all and thank you again for praying for our family.
Barbara Briley's niece, Ginger Sturdivant Bittle, says they are asking for continued prayers as both Babara and LaMyra recover in the hospital. Bittle also said the family is still trying to understand what happened on Christmas Eve and why Barbara ending up driving so deep into the woods several miles from I-85 in Dinwiddie, during their travel from New Jersey to North Carolina.
On Thursday the boyfriend of Barbara's daughter described the happy reunion between LaMyra and her aunts.
"She was happy to see them. She was very happy to see them," said Ricardo Dabney. "LaMyra was a little scared but LaMyra, she's a tough girl. She's
very bright. You know what I mean, smart. She stayed with her grandmother."
The property owner found them about 50 feet from their car and alerted police on Wednesday, according to State Police. Barbara was found unconscious. The Township of Hamilton Police Department says she remains in the hospital in stable condition.
Police say that it appears Barbara turned onto Nash Road and drove about 3/10 of a mile before pulling off into the woods. She drove over a small tree
and tried to back up, but the vehicle got stuck.
Police say the landowner frequently has hunters use his property and was checking through his property when he happened to find the Brileys.
"It's pretty dense, it has a creek in it, it has a swamp in it. It's pretty large, big block of woods. You can get lost in it if you don't know where you are,"
said Wayne Richardson Jr. has been hunting in the woods across from the property where the pair were found for 15 years. He says he's gotten disoriented in the vast area.
Police say they found apples and juice boxes near where the Barbara and LaMyra were found. The two had survived off the snacks for days. Richardson says finding them alive, and unharmed is nothing short of miraculous.
"It's a blessing everybody out here in Dinwiddie county was praying for them. It's a blessing. I'm glad they were found," said Richardson.
Police hope to speak more with Barbara in the coming days to learn more about what happened.
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