Ohio missing teen Madison Bell calls cops to say she's safe and left home on her own after massive search by FBI
HIGHLAND COUNTY, OHIO: Madison Bell, 18, who was reported missing a week ago, called the authorities on May 24 to say that she is safe.
Madison had been reported missing on May 17 at around 11.20 am just a few hours before she was to graduate from High School. Her car was found abandoned inside a parking lot with the keys still in the ignition. Her cellphone was also found inside the car which led to suspicion of foul play.
According to the Highland County Sheriff's Office, Madison has been in contact since May 24 and confirmed that she had left home of her own free will, Daily Mail reports. However, she does not want her location to be disclosed to anyone. Police revealed that no arrests will be made in the case. The teenager's disappearance had resulted in a $15,000 reward on information leading to her safe return.
Her family released a statement and said, "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." The family also thanked all those who had been involved in the massive search for Madison and also the community for their support. "Every single effort to find Maddie has touched us and we appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts."
The case had also led to the Ohio governor Mike DeWine pleading for the teenager's safe return along with the FBI joining the investigation. Madison had vanished just two days after the tanning salons in Ohio had reopened.
We had previously reported that her mother Melissa had said at the time of her daughter's disappearance, "I’ve shed a lot of tears, and sometimes I haven’t shed any because I feel like I’ve just cried everything I have out. It makes me feel so much better because that’s my baby."
The chief of Rescue 101 Search and Rescue, Andrew Surritt, had said, "We have crews that are distributing flyers. We’ve had most of Highland County, Fayette County, and Ross County, and we’re starting to work in Pickaway County this evening, and we’ve even sent flyers as far south as Portsmouth, Ohio."
Madison's mother, Melissa, had taken to Facebook to share, "Almost 48 hours of no sleep. I can’t rest my mind until Maddie is home safe. I’ll never give up searching for her. The overwhelming response from our community, family, friends, and strangers has been nothing short of amazing and we’re so grateful. At this point, I don’t have any further information and we ask that you continue to keep Maddie & our family in your prayers."
Her friends had described Madison as an "amazing" person and a "good girl". Her classmate Brianna Blair had shared, "She doesn’t deserve anything like this at all. And I hate that’s she’s going through it, and she’s alone, so I’m hoping we find her soon so that she doesn’t have to be out there by herself anymore."
At the time, no one knew anything of Madison's whereabouts and many of her friends and family had joined the search parties to look for her.