A missing Highland County teenager who prompted massive searches this week has been found and is safe, according to a press release.
Highland County Sheriff Donald Barrera issued a one-line statement Saturday morning that said Madison Bell had been located and is safe.
Barrera said Bell left on her own free will, according to WCMH-TV, and that she left on her own volition to “start a new life.”Bell, 18, was not considered a runaway because she is not a minor.
A statement from her parents that appeared on other news sites stated “We ask that the public and media respect our privacy during this difficult time while we are emotionally raw. We are just relieved to know Maddie is alive and not in physical danger. Thank you to every single person who looked for Maddie including Rescue 101 Search and Rescue, Texas Equusearch, the amazing members of our local community, and volunteers that came from other areas to search for our daughter. Thank you to everyone who donated on Maddie’s behalf to assure we had reward money to offer for her safe return. Thank you to the law enforcement agencies and members for their hard work over the past 6 days, and for leaving no rock unturned. Thanks to friends and family who have supported us during the most difficult time of our lives. Every single effort to find Maddie has touched us and we appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts.”
Police confirmed that Bell was with a “person of interest,” but the identity of that person has not been released.
No charges will be filed at this time, Barrera reportedly told WKRC-TV. He confirmed law enforcement found Bell, but that she did not want anyone to know where she was.
Bell reportedly told her mother she was going to a tanning salon on Sunday and had not been seen since.
The high school cheerleader is from Greenfield, which is about 60 miles southeast of Dayton in Highland County.
Hundreds of volunteers and trained experts had searched for Bell this week, and large efforts had been planned for Saturday and Sunday involving national search firms.
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