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12-year-old girl, grandfather missing after road trip found safe

| Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, 8:46 a.m.

A Penn Hills girl and her grandfather arrived home safely Monday after an outing turned into a harrowing weekend experience that left family members shaken.

Kimberly Bradford said her father, Morris Bradford, 75, and daughter, Raven, 12, a student at Shady Side Academy, left home about 6:30 a.m. Saturday to attend a play in Lancaster. It took almost two days for them to return.

“It was supposed to be a day out with grandpa,” Kimberly Bradford said. “I didn't mean to think the worst, but I was so panicky.”

A flat tire four hours into their 250-mile journey caused a problem, but they were on their way after exchanging the flat for the spare.

Raven and her grandfather attended the play, but they got lost on the way home and encountered more troubles with Morris Bradford's silver 2006 Nissan Altima.

Poor cellphone reception and a fading phone battery added to the mother's concern. Raven sent a text message to her aunt about 2:50 p.m. Sunday to say they got lost, had car trouble and her phone was about to die.

“They were out in a rural area somewhere. They stayed in the car and (Raven's) phone was dead. They had nowhere to go, and there was nothing they could do until someone came,” Kimberly Bradford said.

Penn Hills police alerted the media and had police in the Lancaster area searching for the car, police Chief Howard Burton said.

“In the early morning, I was really, really concerned and scared because there was no more contact. I literally did not sleep the entire time,” Kimberly Bradford said.

Eventually, people in the area saw their predicament and helped summon a tow truck, which returned the two and the car to Pittsburgh.

When she reunited with her daughter shortly before 3 a.m. Monday, Kimberly Bradford said she was relieved. But for Raven, it was back to work.

“When she came home and after she got her rest, I said, ‘Go do your homework.' I'm really happy to have her back.”

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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