Alicia Navarro, a girl who disappeared from her home in Glendale, Arizona in 2019 when she was 14 years old, recently showed up at a Montana police station and identified herself as the missing teen. She asked to be removed from the missing juveniles list and appeared to be safe, healthy, and happy.
Navarro’s disappearance had been a mystery for nearly four years, with her family and the authorities searching for her without success. Her sudden reappearance has brought relief to her loved ones and has raised hopes for other families of missing children.
When Alicia vanished from their home on 15 September 2019, she left behind a signed note that read: “I ran away. I will be back, I swear. I’m sorry.” Her mother, Jessica Nunez, believed that her daughter had been lured away by somebody she met online. “It’s not something that happened out of the blue,” she said, “and I do believe that she was lured thinking that she was going to have some kind of adventure, party or maybe love.”
At a news conference on Tuesday, Glendale police spokesman Jose Santiago said Alicia, now 18, had walked into the Montana police station alone and identified herself. She asked for help to clear her from the missing juvenile list but seemed safe, healthy and happy. Mr Santiago added that she appeared to have wilfully left home and was not in “any kind of trouble”.
“I want to give glory to God for answering prayers and for this miracle,” she said. “For everyone who has missing loved ones, I want you to use this case as an example. Miracles do exist. Never lose hope and always fight.”
Lieutenant Scott Waite told reporters mother and daughter had an “emotionally overwhelming” reunion, in which Alicia was “very apologetic as to what she has put her mother through”.
The teenager had been diagnosed as high-functioning on the autism spectrum and was an avid video game player. According to Ms Nunez, her child was the first in Arizona to receive a silver alert, a rare emergency notification for missing persons with “specific cognitive or developmental disabilities” and seniors.
It is unclear how Alicia got all the way to Montana, which is more than 1,200 miles (1,900km) away from her home (in Arizona), and the case remains under investigation. Ms Nunez announced her daughter’s safe return in a video on the Finding Alicia Facebook page but said she had no details. #Arizona
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