A frantic father spent the weekend driving up and down the streets of San Ramon looking for his 15 year-old daughter. Her post on Instagram said she and her friend were hanging out near the town. All her father could do was drive around; street after street, stores and parking lots, he drove slowly and peered out the window, but he came up with nothing.
On Wednesday, at 8:00 in the morning, our Special Operations team received a call from one of our confidential informants, telling us about the girl and her Instagram post, and that her father was in a remote part of northern California looking for her. “I think they need your help,” he said, “can you call the father?”
We called immediately and asked him if she’d actually posted pictures of herself in San Ramon or if she’d just typed that she was there.
“No photos,” he said, “she said she was there. She said her phone had been stolen, which I believe because I pinged it to New York.”
“Can you check your credit cards for airline flights?”
He got back to us right away. “My God!” he said, “there’s a charge for an airline ticket!”
As soon as we hung up we called a large federal agency: “We’d like to place Emmy McLean on a no-fly / watch list.”
“You got it. Done.”
“Do you have video of her at EWR?”
“Looking into it now . . .”
We asked if they could ping her phone.
“Yes, we can. Done. We’ve located her at a residence in NYC. We’ll call local law enforcement now.”
We made a call to make sure law enforcement would hold her until her father got there at 11:00 that evening. The next day, relieved and exhausted, he flew home with his precious daughter.
The older man with whom she was found is facing state charges. She had met him online.
The local law enforcement agency, like many around the country, had only 1 detective working numerous cases. As often happens, the case had been filed as “non-urgent” because the girl had voluntarily run away. Anytime a 15-year old disappears — even if she chose to leave — we must assume she’s in danger and find her immediately. We can only do this work with your support. Please donate today.
*Name and locations have been changed to protect the child’s identity.