(*From our news partner WOOD TV) An Amber Alert has been issued as Newaygo County authorities search through the night for a 2-year-old believed to have wandered off Tuesday afternoon.
Amber Rose Smith was last seen at her home on East 13 Mile Road and Cottonwood Avenue in Barton Township, northwest of Big Rapids, according to the Newaygo County Sheriff's Office.
She appears to have wandered off, authorities say, and does not appear to have been taken.
The girl's father told 24 Hour News 8 that Amber opened the front door by herself and that he noticed she was missing around 1:30 p.m.
"I went looking everywhere I could think -- up to the neighbor's house, all around the properties, yelling for her," Dale Smith said.
She didn't answer and she didn't show back up at the house, so he called 911 around 2 p.m.
Both Amber's parents and police say she has wandered off before. Her father said she walked away a few weeks ago, but he quickly found her at a neighbor's house.
Authorities are using K-9s and off-road vehicles to search a wooded area near the home, which is near the edge of Manistee National Forest. The search area started as a square mile, but broadened late Tuesday.
As of 11 p.m., the helicopter portion of the search had been retired, though others continued to search on the ground.
Search and rescue crews from Kent County were being brought in to search through the night into Wednesday, a lieutenant on scene said.
Newaygo County Emergency Services is asking that people avoid the area and advises that anyone not authorized by the sheriff's office will not be given access to the area in order to preserve it for trained searchers.
Amber was last seen wearing a black halter top with a pink tie. She may be wearing jeans and not have any shoes. She has blonde hair and blue or hazel eyes.
"She likes to play, likes balls, balloons," her mother Diane Smith said. "It's hard not knowing. Wondering where's she at. Is she ever going to come home? I don't know what to think. All I know is I don't feel very good."
Authorities on the scene said late Tuesday they pushed to get an Amber Alert issued -- despite the fact that this case does not meet specific criteria necessary for an Alert -- because they were hoping to get more exposure of the search.
Anyone with information or who spots Amber is asked to call Newaygo County Central Dispatch at 231.689.5288.
Authorities on the scene said Amber is 2 and a half years old
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