MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - A North Alabama family’s nightmare is over after authorities revealed that a missing teenager was located.
Paxton Glenn, 14, was with investigators with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday night after being gone for several days.
She is back with her family and officials released more information about the investigation and how she was found.
Lisa Glenn was living every parent’s worst nightmare. On Thursday afternoon, she was waiting for any word on the whereabouts of her daughter.
“We have desperately been searching the past two days,” she said in an interview at the family’s home in the Monrovia area, surrounded by Paxton’s siblings.
The teen left Sparkman 9th Grade School on Tuesday afternoon and got into a strange van.
“She was picked up at school by someone unknown to our family, someone she met on Snapchat. Paxton doesn’t own a phone. She got access to these people through kids at school giving her their phones,” Lisa Glenn explained.
With every passing minute, their worries multiplied. The Glenns feared Paxton could be in danger. Her parents said there were lots of rumors going around about her disappearance, but they were also overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from friends, family and strangers.
“Someone of the reports that we got were that she was dropped off and left alone,” her mother stated.
The family is extremely grateful to the thousands of people who shared Paxton’s picture and information.
The FBI aided the Madison County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency issued an alert and the sheriff’s office notified the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
On Friday, the sheriff’s office said Paxton was reunited with her family.
Lt. Donny Shaw, the agency’s public information officers, thanked the following for their assistance and cooperation: Sparkman 9th Grade Academy, Madison County School System, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Local Law Enforcement Agencies, School Resource Officers, investigators and those interviewed during the investigation.
Because the criteria set by the Department of Justice and managed by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency did not meet that of an Amber Alert, an Emergency Missing Child Alert was posted by ALEA and distributed to media outlets. The Center for Missing and Exploited Children also posted Glenn as missing and assigned a case number to her report, Shaw explained.
“During the investigation, information was developed and verified that Glenn was picked up by two juvenile acquaintances in the van that was captured on video. Those acquaintances then transported Glenn to a location in Decatur and dropped her off,” Lt. Shaw added.
Working with the FBI, a specific location was developed, and Glenn was located there.
Glenn’s parents had signed a pick-up order at the Neaves Davis Center for Children after reporting her missing, Glenn was transported there where she was later returned to the custody of her parents.
“The Sheriff’s Office assures the public that every missing person case is of high importance and is investigated with due diligence. We encourage anyone that may witness signs of someone planning or speaking of running away to report that to school, law enforcement, parents or someone of authority. Being fully cooperative with those investigating a missing person or runaway case is essential in locating them without further delays,” Shaw added in a press release.
Lisa Glenn revealed that with all of the support the family got from the community, there were also negative things being shared surrounding Paxton’s disappearance.
"It's sad," her mother said. "There are kids at Paxton's school that are creating videos with her face and name in them. They're making fun of her situation and Paxton is in a very serious, possibly dangerous, situation."
She urged other parents to familiarize themselves with different social media apps and the way they work, including Snapchat.
“Parents don’t realize that after a period of time, those messages go away. So you might think you’re tracking your kids by looking at their phone every two to three days. Those messages don’t stay there. They disappear after a certain period of time,” Lisa Glenn added.