SUSSEX COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A missing Florida teenager was found in a rural Virginia county, having traveled up the coast via tractor-trailer rides after her family reported her missing several days earlier, according to Virginia State Police.
Virginia State Police (VSP) said the 17-year-old girl ran away from her Florida home on Thursday, Aug. 25. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office in Florida called VSP three days later, on Sunday, Aug. 28, to let them know the girl’s social media was being used to track her location, and she was believed to be traveling in a tractor-trailer on Interstate 95 northbound in North Carolina, about to enter Virginia.
State police were able to issue a “be on the lookout,” and the tractor-trailer the girl was suspected to be traveling in was identified on I-95 at the Emporia City exit before 11 p.m.
According to VSP, state police and the Emporia Police Department were able to work together to conduct a felony traffic stop on I-95 in Sussex County, where the driver was told to exit the vehicle and was detained without incident. When troopers began walking up to the truck, a juvenile girl got out of the back of the cab and was positively identified as the missing 17-year-old.
The girl told officers that she had left her Florida home, and traveled up the East Coast by catching rides from several tractor-trailer drivers, with the intended final destination of Tennessee. VSP said she also told officers she had lied to the driver she was found with about her name and age.
After a police investigation and questioning of the girl and the tractor-trailer driver, the driver was let go and was not charged.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and told that the girl would be placed into child protective services until her parent/guardian was able to travel to Virginia and take custody of her.