GILA COUNTY — Three girls are in good health after they were found alone inside a car along a highway Tuesday night, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Shortly before 10:30 p.m., a person called 911 to report a stranded family along State Route 87 in a remote area about 24 miles south of Payson.
The caller said a woman and her three young children were stranded because their vehicle had run out of gas.
When troopers arrived to assist the family, they found three small girls alone inside the car, DPS said.
The girls, ages 1, 3 and 4, were crying but appeared to be in good health, according to troopers.
The Arizona Department of Child Safety took custody of the girls after troopers comforted them and medical responders checked their conditions.
The troopers, the Gila Country Sheriff's Office and the Payson Police Department searched for the mother during a powerful storm, DPS said, but they did not find the mother Tuesday night.
Around 6:30 the following morning, a 911 caller reported a naked woman wandering in the northbound traffic lanes of SR 87, about two miles from where the three girls were found.
The 27-year-old woman was identified as the girls' mother and taken to a local hospital for medical evaluation.
The investigation is ongoing.