Father of 4-year-old who walked away from Kingsport elementary thankful for good samaritan that brought her home

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- A Kingsport family is crediting a good samaritan for helping bring their young daughter home after she was able to leave school.

4-year-old Olivia Collins wandered off from Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Kingsport Wednesday morning.

A good samaritan spotted her about a quarter of a mile away from the school – close to her home.

That good samaritan tells us Olivia was crying and running when she saw her, and she immediately jumped in to help.

“I came up to her like hey are you okay, where’s mommy and daddy,” Alyssa Hunter said.

Hunter told us that Olivia was able to direct her to her house.

Jason Collins told News Channel 11 he walks his daughter Olivia to Abraham Lincoln Elementary in Kingsport every morning.

Collins said Olivia knows the route home, and that knowledge played a key role in helping her get home Wednesday after she left the building.

Pictured: Jason Collins and his daughter Olivia

Hunter didn’t know the Collins family until Wednesday.

“Went out of their way and made sure my daughter was being taken care of and got home safely. I mean there’s no words to express how thankful my wife and I are,” Olivia’s father said.

He’s now looking for answers from Kingsport City School leaders.

“We could come up to some resolutions where no other family no other parent leave the school where they’re suppose to be safe, where they’re suppose to be educated,” Collins said.

Collins told us they didn’t get in touch with the school until Olivia was already home.

Kingsport City Schools is investigating the incident.

“They exited to go to the restroom, she remained in the classroom and while they were gone, left the classroom and left the school,” KCS Assistant Superintendent Andy True said.

They’re also looking into what needs to change.

“First and foremost, glad the student is safe. But it really has put us into a mode to look at processes and procedures, so we can analyze what occurred,” True went on to say, “We had a substitute teacher in the room yesterday, that changes the dynamic in the room a little bit. In no means excuses the fact that the child was able to get out.”

True also told us they’re looking at making sure everyone at the school understands what to do when moving children from one part of the school to another.

KCS self-reported the incident to the Department of Children’s Services. DCS is investigating and looking at KCS procedures as well.

They understand Kingsport families trust them with their children.

“We understand the family’s concern. We want to be able to learn from what occurred so that this doesn’t happen again,” True said.

PREVIOUS STORY: 4-year-old walks away from Kingsport elementary; discovered by stranger blocks away

Collins and Hunter are now friends after what they’re calling a miracle.

“We’re not going to forget each other for a very, very long time. Most definitely,” they said.

Olivia’s parents are meeting with Kingsport City Schools leaders on Friday.

Jason Collins said they’re not sending their three children back to Lincoln Elementary until they’re comfortable this won’t happen their daughter or anyone else again.

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