H-ARROYO GRANDE

Feb 16, 2013 2:20 AM by Katie Ferber, KSBY News

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Mikayla's father on their happy reunion

A happy ending for the family of a missing 12 year old girl.

Mikayla Andersen disappeared Thursday evening. Friday her father, Aaron Andersen, discovered her in an area where they went on horseback rides together.

KSBY News got the exclusive interview with Mikayla's father after the family was reunited.

Andersen says, "I came across the bridge and there she was. I rolled down the window right next to her and I looked at her and said 'Hey what's going on?'."

Andersen talked to KSBY about the hardest part of the search, "Just the not knowing was the worst; just the not knowing."

It took a massive team of law enforcement agencies from four counties. They worked on foot, on horseback, with ATV's, search and rescue helicopters, and with K9 units.

Andersen says his daughter told him she, "Heard the helicopters at nighttime. She said they flew right over her, the spotlight missed her by about 20 feet."

Mikayla left Paulding Middle School and went to her grandmother's house to go horseback riding. When her horse was discovered without Mikayla, the search began.

The 12 year old told investigators she spent the night sleeping in a tree along a ridgeline in the area. Her dad tells us she's very familiar with the area, "So she remembered to climb that oak tree and just wait it out out there and kick back. I'm glad she listened to me all those times that i took her out there. 10:15

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's investigators tell us at times, up to 80 people were searching for the girl.

Just before 4 p.m. Friday, her father rode up to the SLO County Sheriff's command post in the search area with Mikayla in his car.

She was taken to a local hospital for a check-up, but is now safe at her home.

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