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Lost 'rafters' return home unharmed

LITCHFIELD -- A two-hour search Thursday for three missing children in Meeker County ended when a deputy found them walking home with a Huckleberry Finn story to tell.

Deputies with the Meeker County Sheriff's Department and volunteers with its Mounted Posse joined to search for two brothers, ages 11 and 7, and a 9-year-old-girl at 4:35 p.m. Thursday. The mother of the two boys, Kristy Pedersen of Forest Prairie Township, told the Sheriff's Department that the boys and a female companion had been missing since 11 a.m.

A sheriff's deputy spotted the trio at 6:32 p.m. walking on 362nd Street back toward their residence, according to information from the Meeker County Sheriff Office.

The three told the officer that they had been floating on a raft on Clear Lake. When they reached shore, they started to walk back to the residence. They children were reported to be OK.