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9-year-old Martin County girl found safe after not returning home from school

Sheriff says 'confusion on parents' part' triggered intense search Thursday
wptv-Shirley-Pluta-missing-martin-county-girl.jpg
Posted at 4:35 PM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 17:56:00-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — A missing 9-year-old girl Martin County who didn't return home from school on Thursday has been found safe, authorities say.

Shirley Pluta goes to Citrus Grove Elementary School, located at 2527 SW Citrus Boulevard in Palm City.

According to the Martin County Sheriff's Office, Pluta's mother said her daughter didn't get off the school bus on Thursday in the community of Cobblestone/Stuart West in Palm City.

"There was a schedule for the child to go somewhere after school. There was a little confusion on the parents' part," Sheriff William Snyder said. "She didn't get off the bus when she came home, when she would normally get off the bus. Mom didn't put it all together correctly. The child was somewhere else, but where she was supposed to be."

Sheriff Snyder added that Pluta was never in any danger.

The sheriff's office used helicopters, school resource deputies, detectives, and road patrol deputies to search the areas of the school and the community where Pluta lives.

"This is the call. The all hands on deck," Sheriff Snyder said.

Around 5 p.m., the Martin County School District tweeted that the "student has been found and is safe."