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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was a massive, hours-long search for a missing five-year-old girl in Homestead Tuesday.

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Police found the girl hours after her mother reported her missing.

The search involved the use of helicopters, police dogs and divers preparing to plumb the depths of a nearby lake.

The massive search proved unnecessary. Why? The mother, Geneva Pearson, was apparently oblivious that her daughter had caught the bus in the morning and was at daycare as usual.

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Police charged the mother with child abuse.

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In Juvenile Court on Christmas eve, Judge Mari Sampedro Iglesia gave temporary custody of the little girl and her baby brother to a great aunt and extended family.

The judge ordered that the mother, who did not appear in court, have no contact with her children until further notice.

An aunt, Chante Hall, said Pearson will be able to conquer her unspecified problems. In the end the aunt said the children have a strong, extended family that will provide for them until, or if, Pearson regains custody.

“The children will have a Merry Christmas,” the aunt said.

The state said it is too early in the process to determine if the Department of Children and Families Will recommend that the mother lose her parental rights.

A DCF representative said in court that the children’s father is nowhere to be found.

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