Missing girl safe after short search

A 4-year-old girl who went missing early Monday morning is safe after police located her down the street from her home less than an hour after she disappeared.

At 6:18 a.m., police received a call that the girl, Alexis McCoy, had gone missing from her home near the 100 block of East South Street. Police immediately broadcast information on the missing girl through its Nixle Warning system and on the Child is Missing phone network, said Capt. Mike Hanken, with the Marshalltown Police Department.

At 6:57 a.m., law enforcement officials and volunteers located the girl at a relative’s house. She was uninjured.

Shanda O’Dell, 28, the girl’s mother, said the girl had sleep walked to her second cousin’s house a few doors down. Normally, she and Alexis’s father, Shawn McCoy, find her in the living room or in their bedroom.

“She has never left the house,” she said.

This time, however, the girl managed to get past the baby gate and unlock the door, making her way to the relative’s house. O’Dell said she doesn’t know what made Alexis head there; they rarely visit.

Tye Medhaug, of Tye’s Touch Tree Service, said he and his dad Dick heard the news over the police scanner on their way to a job. With two kids of his own, he said he felt obligated to stop and help search.

“There is no job more important than finding a kid,” he said.

Medhaug and his father eventually located the girl about half a block from her home and returned her to her parents.

O’Dell said Alexis has no recollection of how she got from her bed to the cousin’s house.

“We are all hugging her and kissing her, and she is looking at us like we are crazy,” she said.

Hanken said without the public’s help finding the girl would have taken much longer.

The Marshalltown Fire Department, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa State Patrol, Marshall County Emergency Management, STAR 1 Search & Rescue and Tye’s Touch Tree Service assisted the MPD with the search.