Federal and state agencies are offering a $20,000 reward for information on the whereabouts of 12-year-old Naomi Jones, who went missing from her home in Pensacola, Florida. Fox 10 TV reports that on Wednesday, May 31, the child and her brothers returned to their home at the Aspen Village Apartments after walking the family dog.
Moments after their return, Naomi’s mother, Shantara Hurry, stated that she left the home again, alone, and never returned. Initially, Hurry believed that she walked out of the home because she was playing hide-and-seek with the children, but when she realized that she did not take her cell phone, she felt as though something was wrong.
Hurry went on to say that she does not believe Naomi ran away from home as she is described as a “mama’s girl,” and she would never leave without her cell phone. Therefore, she reported Naomi missing. The sheriff’s office confirmed that Hurry was arrested shortly after on an outstanding warrant. She reportedly failed to “disclose facts related to public aid assistance.”
Naomi’s mother has been released from the county jail on a $4,500 bond, and she has since been trying to locate her missing child. Hurry purportedly contacted all of her daughter’s friends on Facebook, Snap Chat, and Musical. ly, but it has thus far been a dead end.
“I don’t know how to feel at this point, I need her back at home with mama,” said Hurry.
When the community learned of Naomi’s disappearance, more than 100 people came together and began searching for the missing child.
Volunteer Amber Wright said, “I’ve seen a lot of the community come together over this. Unfortunately, a lot of Pensacola still does not know she’s missing. We’ve come across a lot of people, just when I’m out and about mentioning it or anything like that, they have no idea that this has even happened.”
Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said: “Seventy-two hours is the critical time frame for anyone that is missing. We’re up against that timeline (because after that time frame) our probabilities of having a successful resolution to this case — meaning that we find this child alive and, hopefully, unharmed — becomes less and less.”
“We want everyone to take a second,” said ECSO Chief Deputy Chip Simmons. “Look around where you are, spread this information — share it with everyone you can — because she’s 12-years-old,” Simmons said. “Her parents don’t know where she is. Her friends don’t know where she is. All we know right now is that she’s missing.”
Several social media users questioned why an Amber Alert was not issued for the missing Pensacola child, but the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) explained that there is not enough evidence surrounding Naomi’s disappearance to determine that she was abducted.
In the state of Florida, the FDLE adheres to the following “statutory requirements”:
- “The missing child must be under 18.
- There must be evidence the child is in danger.
- There must be a clear description of the missing child.
- Local law enforcement must recommend the alert.
- There must be a clear indication of an abduction.”
As of now, the community search for Naomi has been temporarily suspended due to church services, according to the KlaasKIDS Search Center for Missing & Trafficked Children. Meanwhile, they ask the public to continue to “share this story as we continue to search! Thank you to the Media for your coverage for Naomi Jones. We are in desperate need to #FindNaomi and your reporting of this awful situation is paramount. As a community, our bond is overwhelming and we will not stop. We will not rest until we bring Naomi home.”
Naomi stands 5’1 and weighs between 90 and 100 pounds. She was last seen “with black hair with pink strands and a red spaghetti-strap shirt, white shoes, and red, white and blue American flag shorts.”
If you have any information regarding Naomi’s disappearance or her whereabouts, police officials urge you to contact KlaasKIDS at 855-733-5567 or ECSO at 850-436-9630.
[Featured Image by Escambia County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook]