Three-year old Ramy Demboski's disappearance on Wednesday prompted an AMBER Alert.
Police records show someone knocked on the door and asked to use the phone claiming their car broke down.
A few minutes later Demboski was gone.
Excelsior Spring police asked the Missouri Highway Patrol to issue an AMBER Alert and they did.
However, it didn't go out to cellphones as a wireless emergency alert.
It's a multi-level process, starting with the agency issuing the AMBER Alert. They notify FEMA who works with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to send the alert.
The center writes the message for cellphone carriers. In turn, the carriers send out the message to phones in a specific geographic area.
According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, the cellphone notification wasn't sent out in this case because there wasn't a license plate number associated with the case.
The center said there was also another factor.
"By the time we were able to start talking about that, there was significant movement on recovery of the child," Robert Lowery, Senior Executive Director, Missing Children Division for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said.
About three hours after the alert was issued, the girl was found safe at 8:30 p.m. with her biological mother at this Sunfresh parking lot in Westport.
"She wanted to turn herself in to do the right thing. She never took those steps to actually do it. She kept saying she was going to, but it wasn't happening," Captain Clint Reno with the Excelsior Springs police said.
Demboski’s biological mother is in custody, and the girl is back home with her father.
Charges from the Clay County Prosecutor's Officer are expected in this case.