The 14-year-old's desperate father drove from northern Scotland to Hartlepool trying to find his daughter and knocked on doors, asked postmen and searched coastal paths in the hours before she was located.
A police helicopter tracked down Sean Clode, 21, and the girl, in a black tent he had pitched in dunes at Crimdon Dene, on May 25, the day after she went missing.
Clode, of Glamis Walk, Hartlepool, is on trial at Teesside Crown Court, where he denies sexual grooming, abducting a child and two counts of sexual activity with a child.
In a statement to police, the father, who cannot be named to protect his daughter's identity, said he feared he would never see his daughter again after she vanished - having told her parents she was going to a sleep-over at a friend's house.
In a statement read to the jury, he said: "As I got to Hartlepool it was first light and I spent an hour walking around the docks and a picnic area.
"After not much luck and beside myself with worry I attended Hartlepool police station."
He charged his phone at the station and continued his search. Finally, he got word the police had found her at around 2pm.
"I cannot express how much of a relief it was," he said. "No words can explain how traumatic this whole experience has been for me and my family."
The defence denies any sexual activity took place between the pair.
The trial continues.