After missing teen case, police urge parents to get to know children, their friends

Published 4:45 pm Friday, January 24, 2020

After a 13-year-old Alabama girl went missing, state law enforcement officers say the incident should serve as a wakeup call for other parents.

Pelham Police Chief Pat Cheatwood said after a two-day search for the girl successfully located her with a 24-year-old man, parents should pay close attention to their children and get to know them and their friends now, before something like this happens.

“Please just know your children and know your children’s friends,” Cheatwood said. “And know who they’re hanging out with and know their whereabouts.

“She was 13-years-old and I think that’s what really worried us more in this case even though we had evidence that she had gotten into this vehicle on her own, just the fact that she’s 13-years-old worries us.”

The chief said the girl’s safe return was investigators’ only goal.

“We’re all parents and just getting her back home safely and as quickly as we can was our mission,” Cheatwood said.

Madison County Chief Deputy Stacy Bates said this case was a prime example of how multiple agencies came together to successfully solve a case.

“I want to commend the chief and the men and women of the Pelham Police Department,” Bates said. “I hope this community is grateful and thankful for what they have because I know they put in a lot of hours and a lot of work not just to get a victim back safe, but get them back as quick as they did.

“As the chief said, this is a prime example of partnerships and how they extend outside of your local agencies. This wasn’t just a city and a county thing. For us to get involved in Madison County it was no questions asked. Anytime someone picks up the phone or reaches out to us, we’re going to help.”