Missing 9-year-old autistic girl spotted on-camera in Clearlake


Clearlake and rescue crews had hoped to get some good news and a happy ending by the end of Tuesday, but that has not happened yet. Instead, they found some new hope in the form of a photograph that came from a home video surveillance camera.

"With this information, it's an indication that she at least ran up the street, so we have a last known point where she was seen," Clearlake Police Lt. Tim Celli said.

She was last seen on her own street, heading north. It shows that she did not run immediately into the surrounding waters of Clearlake and redefines the search. "It basically changed our search area," Celli said.

Professional search crews and hundreds volunteers fanned out again Tuesday, this time to the north, leaving no house, no yard, no likely portion of the lake unchecked. Many of the volunteers have autistic children themselves, including Rani Patntreger. "I will just go to small crawl spaces if there is any, because it's my first day, so I don't know, but they normally like something that's isolated. They don't like crowds," she said.

On Tuesday, Rani spent a lot of time searching Anderson Marsh with Eddie Williams, who also has an autistic child. He says to search for such children, it helps to know them "because we know how they are. They're special."

In the meantime, Mikaela Lynch's family remained in seclusion at their home where they have been keeping friends close for support. It was on Sunday, Mother's Day, that the little girl escaped through a gate her brother left open in the yard.

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