Missing 7-year-old girl found safe at southwest Houston apartment complex

July 2, 2013 3:04:09 PM PDT
After a seven-year-old girl was missing for hours, she's now back home with her mother. They say she'd been in another apartment at the complex in southwest Houston.

We talked to the girl and her mother. The most important thing is that they have been reunited and she's ok, but now there are questions if the girl's 9pm curfew is too late.

It was the ending everyone hoped for, but worried they wouldn't see -- mother and daughter, together again.

Mother Binta Ratliff said, "I just want to thank the people in my community for stepping out and passing out flyers, and looking for my baby, Just thank y'all."

Ratliff is overwhelmed that after a night of worrying and a morning of searching, seven-year-old Meleiaha was found safe. She spent the night at a friend's house.

Police finally believe they have sorted out what happened. Meleiaha was playing with friends Monday night, but didn't come home after her 9pm curfew. Instead, she went to a friend's house. Neighbor Bionne says the little girl knocked on her door at 11:45pm.

"We stayed up late," Bionne said.

Police say the kids slept in, and didn't hear the commotion of the search until lunch time.

"They were up until early hours in the morning, and fell asleep and did not hear anybody knocking on the door," explained HPD Sr. Police Officer Darrin Buse. "They were in the back room."

Fortunately, the reunion occurred right around 12:30pm Tuesday afternoon. If there is one lesson to be learned from this, it's that Meleiha's mom says there's no more 9pm curfew for the seven-year-old.

HPD says it's continuing its investigation and no charges have been filed at this time. But they say it's an important lesson for all parents that little kids shouldn't be out after dark.

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