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Temperature History - May 1

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  Today Normal Record 5/1/2015
High 91° 87° 94° (1990) 85°
Low 69° 64° 50° (1987) 64°


Sunrise / Sunset Illustration

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Moonrise / Moonset Illustration

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FOX 13 Tampa Headlines

MISSING: 4 girls run away from foster care facility

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says there is now a $5,000 reward for information that will help find four girls who apparently ran away from a foster care facility in Brandon overnight.

Deputies say the girls -- ages 4, 10, 11 and 13 -- went missing from A Kid's Place on Lithia Pincecrest Road some time between 10 p.m. Thursday and midnight.

A staff member reportedly noticed they were gone during a bed count. Officials say the girls used pillows and other bedding to make it seem like they were in bed, then likely climbed out of a window and either jumped or squeezed through the facility's gate to escape overnight.

Deputies have been knocking on neighbors' doors, searching from the air, reviewing computer records, talking to other children at the facility, and even reviewing surveillance footage from neighboring businesses.

So far, though, deputies say there has been no sign of the girls. They're not sure if the girls are getting any help from someone on the outside.

"It happened in the middle of the night so we are keeping all avenues open," HCSO Colonel Donna Lusczynski stated.

The girls' names, ages, and descriptions from HCSO are as follows:

Allison Nelson: 4 years old. Caucasian, 3'08", 39 pounds, brown hair and brown eyes.
Anabella Gonzalez: 10 years old. Caucasian, 4'06", 66 pounds, brown hair and brown eyes.
Heavenlynn Gonzalez: 11 years old. Caucasian, 4'07", brown hair and brown eyes.
Ashlyn Smith: 13 years old. Caucasian, 5'06", 120 pounds, brown hair and blue eyes.

Three of the girls -- Allison, Anabella, and Heavenlynn -- are sisters. They have been in the facility since March.

A Kid's Place is a non-profit organization that provides foster care to abused, neglected, and abandoned children. Through a court ruling, the girls' residence was kept private from their parents, but officials say, at this point, their well-being is more important than their parents learning of where they live.

Program Director Susan Stagon issued a written statement to the media late this morning:

"Four children in our care ran away from A Kid's Place this morning. Our number one priority right now are these missing children. We are doing everything we can and working with local law enforcement to ensure they are found and safely returned to A Kid's Place as soon as possible."

Deputies ask anyone who sees the girls, or has information on their whereabouts, to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office immediately. This afternoon, they announced plans to offer $5,000 for any information.

"They're young kids. We don't want them out on the streets by themselves," Lusczynski said, adding that the girls should not consider themselves to be in any trouble.

"If you see a law enforcement officer," she said, directly addressing the girls, "please come up to us."

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