Missing 16-year-old Sonya Balsley was found alive Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 4, about one mile away from her home in Bright off Sneakville Road. Balsley, who has developmental disabilities, went missing around 6 p.m. Monday night, September 3, 2012. She was last seen around that time at her home on Vineyard Court, Bright. She was transported to the hospital, but her exact condition remains unknown.
Dearborn County Sheriff’s deputies, Bright Fire and EMS, Greendale Fire and EMS and the Miller-York Fire Department searched the area for her last night, continuing the search this morning. Other volunteers, some notified of the situation by the county’s reverse 911 system, also aided in the search. “We had a great turn out; lots of people wanted to help,” said Bright Fire Department Chief Kevin Glick, who thanked the community. The new rapid notify reverse 911 system became a vital part of the search, he said. “We had over 200 volunteers show up within two to three hours. This really helped during the day when firefighter staff is shorthanded. The reverse 911 was instrumental to help volunteers know where to go and what to do. It helped us cover a lot more ground. This is a resource we intend to use in the future,” said Gick.
Texas EquuSearch, a mounted search and recovery team that provides volunteers to help find lost and missing persons, also came out to help. “They proved to be a very valuable source. They organized the search and worked from the station directing people and forming groups to send out. They came prepared which allowed us to work on the technical aspects of the search,” said Gick.
Bill Black, Dearborn County emergency management director, also wants to thank the community for their time spent in the heat and that he and the firefighters really appreciated the response. He also wanted everyone to know about the reverse 911 and how it worked. Reverse 911 is a rapid notify system that allows you to be notified of severe weather and major emergency events like the search. The system works by sending a recorded message to your phone. You are to pick it up and listen to the instructions given, he said.
If you happen to miss the call, do not call the number back because this will back up the dispatch lines, you will be sent another message or the recorded message will be left on your answering machine, he said. This system does not call everyone who is on the call list. If the emergency event is in a smaller area, only those in whom live in that immediate that area will be called. Contacts in the notify system are confidential and are obtained from the emergency database of telephone numbers. This means if you are signed up to receive 911 services than you are also signed up for Reverse 911.