A young girl who was reported missing by her foster family in 2021 was finally traced to a home in Michigan. The 14-year-old, who was found to be pregnant, was hiding inside a closet at the home when cops came looking for her.
The pregnant teenager was reunited with her biological father, who said he was “very relieved” that his daughter was found, Child Protective Services told officials Thursday, according to NBC News.
The search for the missing girl reportedly began in September 2021 and officials suspected that she may have been trafficked and suffered sexual abuse.
Following several tips and interviews, officials arrived at a house in Port Huron, where the occupants “vehemently denied that they had seen her” despite one of them being seen with the teenager earlier the same day.
“They wouldn’t let us in. They wouldn’t allow us to speak with anyone in the house, which were huge red flags for us,” Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Watson told Detroit Free Press. “The lady said, ‘Come back with a search warrant.’ So we did.”
Investigators returned to the house and searched the residence while the four occupants were told to stay in the living room. The teenager was eventually found hiding inside a closet.
“Once my task force officer pulled back the clothes and saw her, she was obviously identified,” Watson continued.
The girl, who was found to be pregnant about four or five months pregnant, said she was afraid she would wind up back in the system if she was found.
“She was crying. She didn’t know where she was going to go. She was pretty terrified. And she was afraid of losing her baby,” Watson told the outlet.
The girl said she wanted to be with her biological father and was reunited with him soon after she was found.
“She was ecstatic about that,” Watson added. “She was afraid that if she was found, she would go back in the system. … She was just, ‘I wanna be with my dad. I wanna be with my dad.'”
The teenager‘s mother might face parental kidnapping charges, Watson said. She had previously lost custody of the girl but is believed to have found her after the teenager ran away.
Officials believe the mother had the girl bouncing from one address to the other before she wound up with the wrong company and was eventually found in the closet.
Watson said the case was emotional for him and gave the teenager his business card. “I asked her to promise me,” Watson was quoted saying, “If you ever need help … call that number and we would figure it out some way.”