Search continues for 4-year-old girl missing from Port St. Lucie home
Remy Noel pleads for the safe return of his daughter, 4-year-old Chelsea Noel, who has been missing since Saturday night. Elliot Jones, TCPalm
PORT ST. LUCIE — A 4-year-old autistic girl remains missing from her home, according to Port St. Lucie Police.
Chelsea Noel was last seen around 9:50 p.m. Saturday, just before she left the home in the 4600 block of Keats Street.
Police resumed the search Sunday and were going door to door and from lot to lot, said Police spokesman Sgt. Frank Sabol. The FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Martin County Sheriff's Office are voluntarily helping in the search.
"Family members say she walked out through the front door," police said. It was "just a few minutes since she was last seen" by family members.
As soon as her parents found that she was gone, they went outside and couldn't find her, Sabol said. Police were there within six minutes.
Sabol added the family told police the girl is attracted to lights. Police initially searched around nearby homes with outdoor holiday light displays.
Sabol said Chelsea Noel "didn't talk and wouldn't necessarily respond to her name. She spent her life inside a house."
Late Sunday afternoon, Sabol said police had planned to continue searching into the night and the case is being treated as a missing child.
"There's no evidence to suggest foul play," Sabol said.
So far, Sabol said, they have had up to 60 officers from multiple jurisdictions as part of the search and have called in off-duty officers as well to answer calls to free up more on-duty police in the search.
"It's wonderful to see the community coming together," Sabol said, of all the volunteers. "This shows remarkable character of the city. That they want to help people."
Remy Noel, Chelsea Noel's father, said she usually plays in the living room, but she wasn't there when he checked on her. "I didn't see (Chelsea) and looked at the door," he said.
Noel said he saw the door was open, ran outside and began yelling for his daughter. He said footage from the home's surveillance camera showed the child leaving the house.
Remy Noel is now with relatives who have gathered at the family's home. "I just want my baby back," he said.
Overnight Saturday, an hours-long search was conducted by police officers, the sheriff's helicopter and search dogs.
By midday, dive teams were searching retention ponds, lakes and canals in the neighborhood. Searchers used sonar to check a pond along Savona Boulevard.
As of Sunday at 4:45 p.m., Sabol said the search continues and officers are stationed at entry roads to the subdivision and passing out photos of the girl.
So far, the search has gone from about I-95 east to around Savona Boulevard. The north boundary is Becker Road and a main canal is to the south. The main canal has been searched from I-95 to Port St. Lucie Boulevard.
Miguel Cruz joined in the search with 15 of his Hotweelz employees and their families at 4:15 p.m. Sunday. They started looking in woods and drain pipes by the girl's home. "She has got to be somewhere," Cruz said.
Neighborhood resident Oliver Brown, who was preparing to help search for Chelsea on his bicycle, said he was praying for the child's safety. "As a parent of a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old, I wouldn't want to wake up and find my child gone," Brown said.
Jerika and Jason Thompson spent two hours riding an ATV along a main drainage canal that passes a block from Noels' home. Jason said he took the day off from work to help search for the missing girl. The couple said they have three daughters, and when they heard what happened, they felt they needed to do something.
Bloodhounds were brought to scene on Saturday night and Sunday, but the dogs were not successful in tracking the child. "It's disheartening," Sabol said.
At 2 p.m. Sunday, Chelsea Noel had been missing for 16 hours. "We're keeping up the hope," Sabal said. "There have been miracles in the past."
Chelsea Noel is three feet tall, weighs 40 pounds and has short black hair. She was last seen wearing a pink nightgown with a cartoon horse on the front.
Anyone with information should call 911.