Keidra Kirby has been found safe just hours after police say the teenager was snatched in broad daylight by a trio of masked men driving a van.
The 17-year-old girl was reportedly walking with friends in Glenn Heights on Saturday when a van stopped and a group of men allegedly abducted her. Police said on Sunday that Kirby was found in the 300 block of Gannon.
“Keidra is safe, that is heartwarming news for her family, the Glenn Heights community, the department and the city,” said Glenn Heights Police Chief Phillip Prasifka (via WFAA).
Police said Keidra Kirby was able to call her grandmother, who in turn called 911. With the information the teen provided, police were able to locate her and bring her home safely.
Kirby’s family addressed the media at a briefing on Sunday, saying that Keidra is safe but asking for privacy.
“We’re healing,” said her mother, Tawanna Kirby. “Our daughter is healing. Please understand we do want privacy at this time.”
Police have not given details on the circumstances related to Kirby’s disappearance or where she was found. She was reportedly walking with two friends at the time of the abduction, and they confirmed to police that Kirby was snatched by the masked men.
— Monica Hernandez (@MHernandezWFAA) April 24, 2016
Tawanna Kirby, mother of Keidra Kirby, and Glenn Heights PD Chef of Police Phillip Prasifka, at press conference. pic.twitter.com/N4w7puMozL
— CBSDFW (@CBSDFW) April 24, 2016
Just hours before police announced that Kirby had been found, they gave another update saying that the FBI and the Texas Rangers were joining search.
“Several leads have surfaced and investigators are following up on each one,” police said in a statement early Sunday (via NBC News).
Authorities also told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth that the circumstances of the alleged attack were troubling.
“The fact they did this in broad daylight is astounding,” Sgt. David Jackson told the station. “It’s highly populated, and there’s a lot of foot traffic in that area. It’s a good neighborhood.”
An Amber Alert went out to local residents asking them to help look for the white van used by the alleged kidnappers, and family members called on the assailants to let Keidra go free.
“All I can do is wait,” her mother, Tawanna, told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. “Whoever you are, or whoever has my daughter, just let her go. Please let her go. We love her and we want her to come home.”
The happy ending for Keidra Kirby was in sharp contrast to another alleged kidnapping earlier this week. In Montana, 1-year-old Kenzley Olson was found dead a few hours after residents of Montana and North Dakota were notified of her disappearance in an Amber Alert.
Police have arrested Janelle Red Dog, 42, on suspicion of murder of the child. Red Dog reportedly told police that she beat Olson to death, and then stuffed the baby’s body in a duffel bag and threw it into a dumpster.
The grim discovery brought an end to a search that stretched across the area and prompted authorities to close down a portion of U.S. Highway 2. The Great Falls Tribune reported that police also closed down a portion of the city of Poplar, searching homes and yards in the area.
Police had initially identified either Melinda Tweet or Timothy Dornheim as potential suspects, but apprehended the pair and ruled out any involvement in Olson’s murder.
“The person arrested in connection to the death of Kenzley Olson is neither Melinda Tweet nor Timothy Dornheim,” police announced. “Both Tweet and Dornheim have been cleared of any involvement in this incident.”
Police said the alleged kidnapping of Keidra Kirby remains under investigation, and anyone with information is asked to contact Glenn Heights police at 972-223-3478.
[Image via Texas Department of Public Safety/KEYE-TV]