A missing 11-year-old girl with Asperger’s Syndrome from Brandon has been found alive, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
In a press conference Thursday morning, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said Jenna Irmler was found inside the Pasco County line in the area of Highway 39 North earlier in the morning.
Sheriff David Gee said the situation indicates she left on her own.
“We do believe she was trying to avoid probably law enforcement or avoid being found,” Gee said.
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A citizen and a Circle K gas station clerk north of the county line spotted a child with the same clothing and backpack she was last seen in, according to the sheriff’s office.
Gee said they don’t know yet how she got so far, but she had been missing for 37 hours.
Irmler was last seen around 9 p.m. Tuesday and was discovered to be missing from her home in Brandon around 5 a.m. Wednesday.
Law enforcement had searched a wooded area near her home in the 500 block of Centerbrook Drive.
“She had problems sometimes and she would leave for short periods of time,” Gee said. Irmler would leave her house for at most an hour at a time, he said, and would stay inside her neighborhood.
Hundreds of people, including volunteers, aided in the search, Gee said.