Missing 8-year-old Roanoke girl with autism found safe and unharmed

She was missing for about 13 hours

Missing 8-year-old Roanoke girl safely found
Missing 8-year-old Roanoke girl safely found


On Tuesday afternoon, Damon Patterson breathed a sigh of relief after living through any parent’s worst nightmare.

“Worst feeling in the world. It was like, I couldn’t believe it was happening. It felt like this wasn’t be happening,” he said.

Patterson’s 8-year-old daughter Cecelia “CeCe” Patterson, who has autism, ran away from their home on Florida Ave NW Monday around 11 p.m.

“In her mind, she was basically playing hide and go seek,” said Patterson. “Most of the time when she plays, I grab her before she goes anywhere, but this time she got away from me.”

Patterson called 911 and pretty soon the whole neighborhood and community were searching for CeCe.

Roanoke City Police, Roanoke Fire-EMS, the Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management and several other agencies joined forces to bring CeCe home, asking for the public’s help.

“Check your property, your basements, your vehicles, your sheds, your outbuildings, garage, or just forage in your yard,” said Roanoke City Police.

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