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More Than 300 Search for Missing Hoke County Girl

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More than 300 people
RAEFORD — Hoke County authorities, including some 300officers, firefighters, concerned friends and Fort Bragg soldier, arecontinuing to search for a missing 5-year-old girl, who witnessessay waskidnapped Wednesday morning while waiting in her driveway for the schoolbus.

Brittany Lynn Locklear disappeared about 7 a.m. from her home just southof Raeford. The Hoke County Sheriff's Department says that the girl wassnatched into a brown pickup truck with a rack of overhead lights.

Brittany's mother, Connie Chavis, said she had been watching herdaughter from inside her home as the child waited at a bus stop about200 yards away. Just after 7 a.m., Chavis said she went to the bathroom.When she returned, Brittany was gone.

The disappearance has other parents very concerned for the welfare oftheir own children. Keith Butler says his children will be watching forthe bus from inside their home.

Crystal Johnson, the cousin of the missing child, plans to be extracareful herself. Johnson is afraid the same thing that happened toBrittany could happen to her.

Wednesday night, search dogs found Brittany's backpack, along with a pairof overalls and two shoes, in a wooded area on Ryan McBride Road, aboutthree miles away from her home. Thursday, search crews discovered anotherpiece of clothing, but they have yet to confirm it belongs tothe 3-foot-tall, 35-pound girl.

Thursday morning, authorities began conducting a road check near theabduction scene. Sgt. Patrick Brock says they are looking foranyonewho may have witnessed anything suspicious the morning Brittany waskidnapped.

Officers searched on land and from the air Wednesday. A Highway Patrol chopper,equipped with infrared technology, took to the air, However, windy weatherforced an end to the air search.

The girl was waiting for the school bus to take her to West HokeElementary, where she is enrolled in kindergarten. Some other studentswitnessed the abduction. Johnson told WRAL's Mark Roberts what she saw.

Chavis, Brittany's mother, was interviewed by the sheriff's department.She had a message for the person who took her daughter.

"You take careof my kid," said a tearful Chavis. "Bring her home.I want my baby home."

Hoke County Sheriff Wayne Byrd told WRAL that he believes that thekidnapping was not a domestic situation. The child's father, who lives inPembroke, has been interviewed and "checks out." Byrd said that theevidence indicates that a stranger took Brittany.

Deputies say that several children witnessed the kidnapping from downthe street. The children gave authorities as much information as theycould, saying that a white male jumped out of the truck, grabbed Brittany,took her back into the truck and sped off, heading away from them.Officers were also searching in surrounding counties.

Sheriff Byrd said Thursday he is trying to stay optimistic about thesearch until he has reason to feel otherwise.

If you have any information about Brittany's whereabouts, call the HokeCounty Sheriff's Department at1-800-842-9111. You mayalso phone tips to a special line installed at Brittany's. That number is910-875-4895.

Reporter:Mark RobertsandWisdom MartinandJohnCox

andBrian Shrader

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