UPDATE: Missing Perham girl Claire Cooney found safe
After a 10-day-long investigation, a Perham father's search to find his missing daughter is over.
A private investigator confirmed on Sunday that 6-year-old Claire Cooney was found in Tellico Plains, Tenn., about 60 miles southwest of Knoxville.
The girl’s father, Brian Cooney, hadn't seen his daughter in almost a month.
Claire was allegedly taken by Cooney's estranged wife, Miranda Cooney, and her partner Jonathan Bromen.
Claire was found at 4:30 p.m. after a tip from a Tennessee store owner.
At press time, Claire was due to be back in her father’s arms at any moment.
Renee Brewer, of Still Watch Investigations, led the search, spreading flyers throughout towns she believed Claire might be spotted in.
“Oh, I'm so relieved; a great sense of relief,” Brewer said Sunday. “I went and bought her a car seat and two stuffed animal toys, and I know I'm going to get a good night's sleep tonight if I can stop looking at her. And I'm just really thrilled because it feels like the best thing I've done as a private investigator.”
According to a GoFundMe page set up online to help pay for expenses related to the search, Claire's father and mother have shared custody of their daughter for some time, but it became difficult to communicate with Miranda after she got into a committed relationship with Bromen.
Otter Tail County Court records show Bromen has been convicted of multiple felonies for crimes including domestic assault and burglary.
The couple was spotted with Claire at Becky’s Thrift Shop in Centerville, Tenn. The store owner thought their behavior seemed suspicious and called the police. Claire seemed hungry so the store owner gave her something to eat and she “devoured it.”
The couple told the store owner they were “going off the grid” and purchased four tarps, bundles of white ropes, two hacksaws, a variety pack of knives, an adult knife for Claire, and camouflage clothes.
A search poster shared on Facebook stated that the store owner noticed Claire’s hair had been dyed black and Miranda was wearing a wig.
News of the missing girl hit the media late last week and spread quickly on social media over the weekend. Comments posted Monday on the Help Find Clair Facebook page expressed relief that the girl was found safe and sound.
Multiple people from around the area posted supportive remarks such as, “Thank goodness,” “Great news” and “Thank you god for bringing that little girl home where she belongs.”
Perham police assisted in the search.