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Missing kid was playing nearby

BUFORD -- Aniyah Mason, the 6-year-old Buford girl missing for almost seven hours Thursday, was playing in a neighbor's yard and unharmed throughout the incident, police said.

After the child was last seen at 3:40 p.m., practically the entire nearby community was out searching for her, holding candles, flashing posters to vehicles passing by and scouring woods, roads and homes. Police had helicopters, K9 units and even a bloodhound from Philips State Prison on the prowl.

Just before 10:30, Aniyah "was found by an area resident diligently searching for her," Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Brian Kelly said.

The girl was found playing in a residential yard within the same subdivision off Sycamore Road, Kelly said.

Before she was found, her father reported that Aniyah came home from school, he asked her to go change her clothes, and he never saw her again. A bottom-floor window was found open at their Princeton Oaks Drive home.

Officials believed then that she just went out to play, and wandered off.

"Preliminary investigation has found that Aniyah did not suffer any harm or injury or become the victim of foul play," Kelly said.

No criminal charges are expected to arise from the incident, he said.