(ORANGE, Conn.) -- Isabella Oleschuk, the 13-year-old girl missing since Sunday, was found alive Wednesday morning with a friend. Church bells in the Connecticut town rang out to celebrate the news.
"I'm thrilled to announce to you that she has been found and that she is safe," Orange Police Chief Robert Gagne said at a press conference. "I have just gotten word of this so I don't have any detail. She did leave home. She was with a friend and she is OK."
Police and a medical crew were in route to check on the health of the girl and church bells in the town peeled to in the wake of the joyful news.
"Our prayers have been answered," Annette Rubelman, a friend of the family, said through tears of joy. "We haven't been able to do anything."
Connecticut police and the FBI knocked down doors, combed the woods with dogs and searched by air for the missing seventh grader.
"I'm so relieved. I know she will be showered with love when she walks in the door. If she had any doubt people cared about her, she won't after this," said Beth Rafferty, the leader of Isabella's youth group.
No one knows how or why Isabella went missing, but in the midst of their desperate search, police explored the possibility that the girl ran away to escape bullies.
Local reporter Kathleen Schurman went to police after parents and kids contacted her saying that Bella as she was known was relentlessly made fun of for her quirks by classmates at Amity Regional Middle School.
"She had told several kids at school that she was going to run away because the bullying was so terrible and she was sure her parents were going to make her go back to school and she didn't want to," said Schurman, editor of online news site Bethwood Patch.
Kids told Schurman that schoolmates called her "duck girl" because she like to make quacking noises and animal sounds.
Police issued a silver alert Sunday, which indicates that her disappearance is "mysterious" but not necessarily an abduction. Fliers being handed out throughout the town characterize the seventh-grader as an "endangered runaway."
The Orange, Conn., girl is partially deaf and normally uses a hearing aid. Her hearing aid was left behind, prompting concerns among rescuers that she might not be able to hear people calling her name.
When ABC News reached Isabella's grandfather by phone Tuesday, he said that the family was "anxiously awaiting her safe return."
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