A Lexington teenager who had been missing for about 10 months has safely returned home, Lexington police and Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced Monday morning.
The girl was reported missing July 1, and was 16 at the time, according to the attorney general’s office. The Lexington Police Department launched an investigation and worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at the time. A missing child poster was made and shared on social media.
Cameron’s office worked with both agencies to help highlight the missing teenager on social media.
“We are incredibly thankful to see a missing Kentucky child return home to her family, and we appreciate the partnership with Lexington Police and NCMEC that helped lead to her safe return,” Cameron said in a statement.
The attorney general has an office of trafficking and abuse prevention and prosecution, which launched a social media campaign in January to try to help local law enforcement “generate additional leads.”
The attorney general’s office partners with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and local Kentucky law enforcement agencies to run the campaign.
“Before we share a social media post on the AG’s account, we work with the investigators in the case to determine if these efforts would be helpful in generating new leads,” said Elizabeth Kuhn, a spokesperson for Cameron’s office. “We also communicate with the family of the missing child prior to any post shared.”
Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers said the girl was recently returned to her family thanks to the help from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the attorney general’s office.
“This is yet another example of the value of agencies and the public working together to help each other,” Weathers said in a statement.
Police didn’t release any information around the girl’s case, such as where she was located or whether anyone was charged in connection to her disappearance. Police said they couldn’t release further information because the case involved a minor.
There are currently 64 Kentucky residents reported missing who disappeared when they were children, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Eight of them are from Lexington.
In 2020 there were 365,348 reports of missing children made to the National Crime Information Center, according to the FBI. Missing children are often susceptible to exploitation and human trafficking, according to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which states that one in six missing children who ran away in 2020 were likely victims of sex trafficking.