Missing Connecticut Girl Isabella Oleschuk Found Alive

PHOTO Connecticut police with the help of the FBI are knocking on doors, combing the woods with dogs and searching by air for missing 12-year-old Isabella Oleschuk.
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Isabella Oleschuk, the 13-year-old girl missing since Sunday, was found alive this morning at an abandoned farm stand.

"I am thrilled to be able to announce to you that she has been found and she is safe," Orange Police Chief Robert Gagne said at a press conference.

Police, who searched for Isabella for four days, said Isabella had run away from her family's homes. Police are still investigating how she got to the farm stand. They will not comment on allegations that bullying prompted Isabella to run away until they talk to her.

A person driving by a farm stand spotted a girl that looked like Isabella and called police at 10:46 a.m.

"The citizen reported seeing someone's head pop out of a hole in an abandoned farm stand," Gagne said.

An officer was dispatched and found Isabella in the garage of the farm stand, three miles from her family's Orange, Conn., home. She had a bandana on her head.

"She was not aware there had been a search going on. She was in the farm stand the whole entire time," Gagne said. "She was relieved. She was happy to be back with her family. She gave no indication of being scared."

Isabella's father, Roman Oleschuk, spoke for the first time since his daughter disappeared.

"On behalf of my wife and family, we greatly appreciate all ofthe help in searching for my daughter Isabella... Isabella comes from a loving and supportive family that raised her with core Christian values" Roman Oleschuk, Isabella's father, said. "You took time away from your family to help ours."

She had packed Pop Tarts and granola bars as well as a coat and blanket. When approached by the police officer, she told the officer her name but was very quiet, police said.

Church bells in the tiny town peeled to celebrate the good news.

"Our prayers have been answered," Annette Rubelman, a friend of the family, said through tears of joy. "We haven't been able to do anything."

Connecticut police and the FBI knocked down doors, combed the woods with dogs and searched by air for the missing seventh grader.

"I'm so relieved. I know she will be showered with love when she walks in the door. If she had any doubt people cared about her, she won't after this," said Beth Rafferty, the leader of Isabella's youth group.

Not Clear If Isabella Oleschuk Was a Victim of Bullying

Police are not certain why Isabella disappeared, but in the midst of their desperate search, police explored the possibility that the girl ran away to escape bullies.

Local reporter Kathleen Schurman went to police after parents and kids contacted her saying that Bella as she was known was relentlessly made fun of for her quirks by classmates at Amity Regional Middle School.

"She had told several kids at school that she was going to run away because the bullying was so terrible and she was sure her parents were going to make her go back to school and she didn't want to," said Schurman, editor of online news site Bethwood Patch.

Kids told Schurman that schoolmates called her "duck girl" because she likes to make quacking noises and animal sounds.

Police issued a silver alert Sunday, which indicates that her disappearance is "mysterious" but not necessarily an abduction. Fliers being handed out throughout the town characterize the seventh-grader as an "endangered runaway."

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