A 12-year-old girl who had been missing in Johnson County was found dead Thursday afternoon, and her father was taken to a hospital with what law enforcement officers believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Johnson County Coroner J.R. Frisby said the body of Stacia Leigh Collins was found at about 5:30 p.m. in a “very, very remote” part of the county near Millers Creek at Boone’s Camp, down a dirt and gravel road. “It’s hardly ever traveled by anyone,” Frisby said. He said the child had been shot.
The Johnson County sheriff’s office said they were called to the Van Lear community to respond to an assault at about 11 a.m. Thursday. When they arrived, they found a man, Stacy Collins, suffering from what was thought to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was taken to Highlands ARH Regional Medical Center in Floyd County, the sheriff’s office said.
“Extending from the initial investigation, deputies discovered that Mr. Collins’ 12 year old daughter was missing,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post Friday afternoon. “After exhausting numerous leads” to try to find the girl, the sheriff’s office said they and the county’s emergency management director, Gary McClure, began putting together search teams.
“The search was to initially concentrate in the area that Mr. Collins was found,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “Sadly, with public assistance, the juvenile was soon located, but was deceased. Remains were transported by the Johnson County Coroner’s Office to the Medical Examiners Office in Frankfort.”
The sheriff’s office had shared a photo of Stacia on Facebook Thursday afternoon, asking the public for information to help find her.
The Johnson County School District said in a Facebook post that Porter Elementary School would dismiss at noon Monday “due to the unexpected loss of one of our dearly loved students.”
“Thank you for your understanding and support as we say our goodbyes to one very special Panther,” the post stated.
The child was a sixth-grader, the district said in another post expressing sympathy.