Madison Bell, the 18-year-old girl from Highland County, Ohio who was recently missing, has been found alive and uninjured. The teen went missing on May 17, leading to a major frenzy to locate her, according to Cincinnati News.
It has not been publicly released where Bell was found, only that she was not found locally. No one has been arrested in connection with her disappearance, as it has been determined that she left willingly. Because she is legally an adult, she has not been labeled a runaway. Sheriff Donald Barerra, who helped lead the search, expressed his gratitude that Bell was found safe. He also gave a brief explanation in regard to the teenager’s reason for leaving, saying only that she “left to start a new life”.
Bell’s family released a statement to request privacy during this time and to express their gratitude to the many people who sacrificed their own time and resources to help safely locate the teenager.
“We ask that the public and media respect our privacy during this difficult time while we are emotionally raw. We are just relieved to know Maddie is alive and not in physical danger. Thank you to every single person who looked for Maddie including Rescue 101 Search and Rescue, Texas Equusearch, the amazing members of our local community, and volunteers that came from other areas to search for our daughter.”
The family went on to thank the many people who donated financially to the search process in an effort to help provide a reward for Bell’s return. In total, a $15,000 reward had been posted thanks to donations from the community.
“Thanks to friends and family who have supported us during the most difficult time of our lives. Every single effort to find Maddie has touched us and we appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts,” the statement concluded.
Bell was last seen on Sunday when she told her mother that she was going tanning. When she did not return, her family became concerned because it was unlike her to not keep them updated on her location. Her phone and car were later found in a church parking lot.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, missing person cases such as Bell’s often do not turn out as positively as this one did. Last year, 23-year-old Utah college student Mackenzie Lueck was tragically found dead after going missing. She was killed after going to meet a man in a remote location at night. 31-year-old Ayoola Ajayi has since been charged with her murder.