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An Arizona teenager who disappeared from her home in 2019 has been found safe in Montana, more than 1,000 miles away.
This week, Alicia Navarro, now 18, walked alone into a Montana police station around 40 miles from the Canadian border and introduced herself, the Associated Press reported.
Jessica Nunez reported her daughter missing after she disappeared at the age of 14 on September 15, 2019. At the time, Navarro left a note saying, “I ran away. I will be back, I swear. I’m sorry.” Her mother feared that Navarro may have been lured away from home by someone she met on the internet. Nunez also noted that her daughter was diagnosed as high-functioning on the autism spectrum, the AP reported.
Navarro’s disappearance in 2019 launched a nationwide search that included help from the FBI, which received thousands of tips over the years, Glendale, Arizona, police spokesman Jose Santiago said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“Alicia went missing in September of 2019, for more than four years detectives here have followed up on THOUSANDS of leads,” the Glendale Police Department wrote on Facebook. “This week, Alicia walked into a police department in a small town in Montana and identified herself. At that point, Federal partners, local police along with detectives here at Glendale Police began their investigation into this individual. Through our interviews, along with family members, we are confident that the now 18-year-old young lady is indeed Alicia Navarro.”
The police department cautioned that the case was not closed.
“We are continuing to investigate her whereabouts for the last four years and will do so alongside our Federal partners. Alicia is asking for privacy at this time. We are thankful we can bring some type of closure to her family. We are also thankful she appears to be in good health and happy,” they wrote.
At the news conference, Santiago noted that Navarro “is by all accounts safe, she is by all accounts healthy, and she is by all accounts happy.” He added that she hadn’t been harmed and that she wasn’t being held against her will while she was missing. She also faces no criminal charges.
“She is not in any kind of trouble,” Santiago said at the press conference.
Lt. Scott Waite also spoke, saying Navarro had an “emotionally overwhelming” reunion with her mother, during which she was “very apologetic [as] to what she has put her mother through.”
Nunez thanked God for her daughter’s safe return.
“I want to give glory to God for answering prayers and for this miracle,” Nunez said in a video on Facebook.
“For everyone who has missing loved ones, I want you to use this case as an example,” she added. “Miracles do exist. Never lose hope and always fight.”