Missing high school senior case: Mom makes impassioned plea for daughter’s safe return

GREENFIELD, Highland & Ross Counties — UPDATE 5/23/20 @ 10:50 a.m.:

The Highland County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that Madison Bell was found safe.

The sheriff’s office confirmed Saturday that Bell left of her own free will and does not want to disclose her location. No arrests will be made in this case.

UPDATE @ 6:30 p.m. (May 21): The Highland County Sheriff’s Office has released a photo of the car authorities believe was in the area where Madison Bell was last seen on May 17.


Melissa Bell, who said she is exhausted, issued a passionate plea Wednesday for the return of her only child, 18-year-old Madison Bell, who was last seen Sunday morning.

"Don't miss the opportunity to say something," mother Bell said in her appeal.

“Fight. Think smart, but fight,” she continued, directing her comments to her daughter. “Please get away. Come home.”

“Whoever has her, take her and drop her off somewhere safe. Let her come home to her community, her family and her friends,” Bell, fighting back tears, said to News Center 7′s Sean Cudahy.

Madison Bell has not been seen since Sunday morning, May 17. She was last seen going to a tanning business right outside the village of Greenfield, in Highland and Ross counties.

When her car was found in the parking lot of Good Shepherd Church, next door to Corner Market on Centerfield Road in Greenfield, where Madison would go tanning, her car doors were unlocked. Her phone, wallet and keys were inside.

The FBI, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Highland County Sheriff’s Office are jointly conducting the investigation of Madison’s disappearance. They are searching for a white car bearing California tags.

"At this point, don't look like there was a struggle at the vehicle," Sheriff Donnie Barrera said.

"We're treating it in two ways. We're treating it as the family likes. They think there's possibly foul play and there's also the fact some information we got [hinted] that ... she took off."

Melissa Bell said there's no way her daughter disappeared willingly.

“A mother knows her child.... She would never, ever, ever pull over for anyone she didn’t know. Did she think it was someone from school? Did she think this was one of her classmates who needed help? She would never stop for a stranger. Never,” Melissa Bell said.

NEW (May 21): The Highland County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday afternoon released a photo of the white car authorities are looking for in connection with Madison Bell’s disappearance.

Madison Bell is white, approximately 5-foot-6 inches tall and 120 pounds. She has brown hair and eyes. She wears gray contact lenses, has a tattoo of a cross on her neck, and a tattoo of a ghost on her side. If you have information on her whereabouts or know something about her disappearance, you are asked to contact the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, 937-393-1421.

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