Anji Dean, the 17-year-old Camas, Washington, girl missing from her home since June 23, is safe and reunited with her family. The teen's disappearance became national news because she left a bone-chilling note behind in a spiral notebook stashed under her bed and later found by her parents.
The note said, "If you're reading this, I'm either missing or dead."
But on Wednesday afternoon at about 4 pm, Anji Dean was found safe at Clackamas Town Center, a large, indoor shopping mall in an unincorporated area or Oregon's Clackamas County.
Authorities have not yet released details of how Angelic "Anji" Tracy Dean was located or why she disappeared. But the Clark County (Washington) Sheriff's Department has its Major Crimes Unit on the case and suspects that something sinister was behind the teen's 16-day disappearance.
"This is an active investigation that includes the crime of human trafficking," said Sheriff's Department spokesperson Sergeant Kevin Allais.
Dean vanished from her home without taking her glasses, any change of clothes, or makeup. More than 150 tips poured in to the Major Crimes unite after the note in her her journal was released to the media.
The note was dated June 5, almost three weeks before she vanished.
"If you're reading this, I'm probably missing," it read. "I'm not missing because I hate you... When or if you find me... I'll be all used up or dead. Meth addict, heroin too just so I can get through all the pain."
Then sometime between 9 pm and 10:30 pm on June 23, Dean somehow left her parents home without being noticed.
Until recently, her mother Lynda Jorgensen said Anji Dean appeared to be a typical, healthy high-schooler. She was a competitive cheerleader and was involved in several other extracurricular activities. But in recent months, the teen began exhibiting signs of some kind of trouble that she wouldn't talk about. Her parents assumed it was normal case of adolescent depression and they found psychological counseling for her.
At one point she texted her boyfriend saying that someone wanted to kill her.
But following her disappearance, they came to believe that she may have become involved in a dangerous situation from which she could not free herself, possibly related to sex trafficking, and was under threats.
Earlier on the day she went missing, a neighbor reported seeing her get out of an unfamiliar car filled with people in front of her home. While she was missing, a woman identified only as Jennifer from Milwaukie, Oregon, told a local TV station, she had spent several days with Anji Dean, who told her "she was in a bad situation and needed to get out."