Mentally disabled girl missing since Friday found safe

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by Doug Miller / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on January 6, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 7 at 9:06 AM

SANTA FE, Texas -- A young woman with the mental capacity of a child was found walking along a road in Galveston County overnight. She was taken to a hospital to be checked out, but didn't appear to be injured, according to Galveston County deputies.

Dozens of people around Santa Fe spent their Sunday searching for Ashley Collard by helicopter and horseback, on foot and on all terrain vehicles,

The young woman who stormed out of her house late Friday afternoon and her family was concerned that she became lost or confused.

“Ashley truly is an innocent little girl,” said Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo, of the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office.   Her family said she has the mental capacity of an 8-year-old child.  She’s prone to seizures.  And she hasn’t had her medications in days.

“She does not have much intelligence as far as IQ-wise or as far as education,” said her mother, Laura Collard.  “She does not understand.”

As children do, she got mad and ran away from home, snatching $600 from her mother’s purse and grabbing her puppy before bolting out of the house. 

“She was upset because she didn’t want to clean her room,” said her sister, Morgan Collard.

Ashley Collard has several mental health problems, but perhaps most importantly she often just can’t think clearly.  That’s part of the reason investigators were so worried.

Collard just got a new cell phone for Christmas.  Her sister slipped it into her purse as she ran away, so it seemed that might have provided a way to find her.  But investigators who pinged the phone later discovered it in a ditch near her home.  Her sister believes she threw it away to avoid tracking.

Collard took along her black and white Shih Tzu puppy named Krissy, as well as a small amount of dog food.  Her brother said another family dog followed her but later returned home.

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