Hart girls, missing their father, run away to find him

Oceana Co. missing girls follow up

HART, MICH. - They were missing their father, and that’s why a pair of little girls in Oceana County say they ran away from home in the middle of the night.

Relatives say Richard Thomas is in North Dakota on a one month Army National Guard training mission. At about 1 a.m. Monday morning, 10-year-old Charlotte and 9-year-old Clarissa Thomas left their home near Hart looking for him.

“He is in North Dakota,” Charlotte explained. “We took blankets. I took my Tinkerbell bag and another blanket in case it got really cold.”

“Dad is 1,000 miles away on active duty orders,” said their mother, Santana Rennhack. “He has been panicking, too. Feeling very helpless because there is nothing he can do.”

►Previous: Sisters found after running away in Oceana County

Monday morning, when she discovered the girls were gone, Rennhack says she contacted police.

“We got the call about 8 a.m. that they were missing,” says Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast. “That they probably ran away so we weren’t suspicious of any foul play. This is a very expansive farm here. A lot of buildings and a lot of acreage to search.”

At about noon, Clarissa walked out of the woods on her own and two hours later a police dog found Charlotte.

“When I saw the dog, I was happy,” she says. “I was scared. I didn’t know which way to go and I was missing mom.”

Relatives say the parents are separated and divorcing. They say that also could be part of the reason for the runaway -- saying this has happened once before.

“Thank you to everyone who took the time out of their day to look for these girls and to get them home safely where they belong,” says Rennhack.

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