BARLING, Ark – A 14-year-old girl is back home safe after she went missing for nearly 16 hours, sending the entire state on a frantic search.
An Amber Alert was issued for the teen on Tuesday morning with her reuniting with her parents just hours later.
Law Enforcement said it all started around 5:30 p.m. Monday when the teen was supposed to babysit for a neighbor. Law enforcement said that before she left her home, she put her phone on the charger, leaving without it.
Sean Showalter, who the teen was supposed to babysit for, said the 14-year-old never showed up.
“I sent my 6-year-old over [to her house], he ran over, and she was nowhere to be found at that point,” Showalter said.
Showalter said that panic then set in.
“It was insane,” Showalter recalled. “I didn’t sleep a lot.”
The community and law enforcement spent the night searching the area, eventually sending out an Amber Alert for the whole state to see.
Philip Pevehouse, Captain with the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office, explained how the teen eventually got home.
“A male subject, turns out later he was a neighbor, came with the young lady to her home and she was reunited with her family,” Pevehouse said.
Law enforcement said the man was walking in the neighborhood when he found the teen and took her home. He was questioned at the station and then released.
“We’re forever grateful that she got brought home but I’m afraid to even let my kids play outside,” Showalter said.
Showalter said he’s concerned and finds himself counting the hours for when everyone can finally get some answers.
“At this point I just hope that whoever it was gets found and we can kind of get some answers to exactly what happened,” Showalter said.
Law enforcement said that right now they believe the neighbor who found the teen was just someone doing the right thing at the time.
So far, no arrests have been made.
This is an ongoing story. Check back for updates.