The search for Aleah Beckerle is growing desperate, with more than one week now passing since the disabled Indiana teenager disappeared from her home in the middle of the night.
Nineteen-year-old Beckerle was last seen by her mother on the evening of Sunday, July 17. She woke to find Aleah's room empty with no sign of the girl, prompting an immediate search by police in Evansville.
Aleah suffered a stroke as an infant, one that left her in need of round-the-clock care, NBC News noted. The teenager is bound to a wheelchair and has daily medication meant to control seizures, making her disappearance that much more troubling for authorities.
But after 10 days now with no clues about Aleah's whereabouts, police are making a public plea for anyone with information about the missing girl to come forward.
"There is someone out there who knows where Aleah is," Evansville Police Department Captain Andy Chandler told Dateline. "You can't just carry a disabled 19-year-old out of her home and have no one see anything."
There is national attention on Aleah's case as well, with word spreading across social media after Dateline shared news about her disappearance.The search for Aleah has prompted a large response from the Evansville community, with volunteers turning out to participate in the search and spread information about her disappearance. The search even brought the help of Jones and Kentucky Bluegrass Bloodhounds, a group that traveled three hours from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, to bring bloodhounds into the search.
There is a great sense of urgency to the hunt for the missing teenager. Aleah's mother, Cara Beckerle, said that the daily seizure-controlling medication was left behind when Aleah went missing. She and other family members are making a plea for anyone with information about the teen's whereabouts to come forward.
"Please, I'm begging whoever has my angel, this is day five without her precious smile waking up to me," Cara posted on Facebook.
Family members started the "Bring Aleah Home" page to share information about her disappearance and encourage others to come forward. The page has also been used to share updates on the search for Aleah, noting that it has been hampered by sweltering heat.
Brittany Darling posted a message on Monday telling followers that the search will continue this week, with the Evansville police and FBI searching areas that "we legally can not."Others are using the message board to spread the word further about Aleah Beckerle. One suggested leaving porch lights on Tuesday night to raise awareness.
"I would like everybody in every state to turn their light on for Aleah till they find. So let's turn on all the porch lights that we could turn on please to show our support I'm bringing home just precious 19 year old special needs lady. When you turn your lights on can you please take a picture and tell us the city and stay with you are from. Thank you and may God bless you and your family in the time of need as you help a support this family in a time of need."
But even amid the difficult search, family members said they are confident that Aleah Beckerle will be found and brought home safe.
"I know we're going to find her. I know we are. It's going to be any minute, any time," said Aleah's grandmother, Lydia LaRue (via TristateHomepage.com). "We miss her so very much. The house is so empty without her."
Anyone with any information on the disappearance of Aleah Beckerle is asked to call the Evansville Police Department at (812) 436-7979 or the anonymous WeTip hotline at 1 (800) 78-CRIME.
[Image via Evansville Police Department]