A local mother’s search for her missing daughter with a shocking twist

WARREN COUNTY — Hannah Redkey was 17 years old and vanished from her Warren County home in the middle of the night more than a year ago.

Earlier this month, the lead detective on this case and Hannah’s mother said they were certain Hannah was dead. They hope that sharing their story will lead them to her body, but then two weeks ago, the detective called News Center 7′s James Brown saying she thought she saw a ghost.

Every person reported missing has a case number, and behind that case number is a name and a face.

Belinda Redkey is Hannah’s adopted mother. Hannah moved in with Belinda and her husband in Franklin Township when she was eight.

“Hannah worshiped us. She catered, and wouldn’t even let me cook,” Belinda said.

Belinda said Hannah was a homebody and never wanted to hang out with friends. But all that unraveled early Sunday morning February 5, 2023.

“I was sitting at my kitchen table drinking coffee and my back door opened. At first, it scared me to death, and then I saw it was Hannah,” Belinda said.

She was not wearing a coat or shoes and Belinda wanted an explanation.

Detective Reil Becker with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office was asked “Were they all sorts of secrets being kept?” She replied, “I think there were. We don’t know what kind of secrets there were.”

That morning, Belinda said Hannah admitted she had been sneaking out of the house for months and would meet men she met online.

“It all just fell to pieces. She never gave us any kind of sign she had been doing anything,” Belinda said.

It was learned that the men gave her booze and drugs, and she was having sex.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: ‘Like seeing a ghost;’ Area teen missing for over a year walks into sheriff’s office

“She’s a girl who has low self-esteem and seeking any kind of attention,” Belinda said.

Hannah’s friends told Det. Becker that Hannah had planned to move out and get an apartment with friends when she turned 18. But two days later on February 7, she disappeared.

“I got back up at 1:30 am. Her door was open, and she was gone, I panicked,” Belinda said.

Hannah did not take a cell phone, a computer, or an ID with her. “People don’t just disappear,” Belinda said. But, that is exactly what happened.

“I don’t think people truly understand what it’s like to have somebody just vanish and not have a resolution, but it happens every day across the country,” Belinda said.

Det. Becker’s case file on Hannah grew to more than two inches thick. “I’ve worked with the Secret Service, the FBI, Ohio BCI, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and nothing,” Becker said.

Did Hannah wind up a victim of human sex trafficking? “We live in a nightmare every day. It doesn’t get better, just gets worse,” Belinda said.

Days turned into weeks and weeks into months and no sign of Hannah.

“The only thing I can keep in my head right now is she’s dead. Because she’s not reaching out to anybody,” Belinda said.

This is the only missing person’s case that Det. Becker has never solved.

News Center 7 asked, “Do you think Hannah is still alive?” Becker replied, “No, I don’t, and I hate that. I hate it.”

A week after interviewing Hannah’s mother, and Det. Becker, on May 9 out of nowhere, and very much alive, Hannah Redkey walked into the Warrant County Sheriff’s Office.

“When she walked in, I wanted to cry and I didn’t know what to say. All I could think about was get her in an interview room and turn a camera on,” Becker said.

During the 20 minutes they talked, Hannah helped fill in some of the blanks.

Hannah described a much different, difficult emotional home life than what Belinda previously shared with Det. Becker.

“She caught me sneaking out. I never had a life there. It was hard,” Hannah said.

The night Hannah vanished she said she left a note saying “I’m leaving. I can’t live like this anymore. I’m safe, don’t worry about me.”

That was the first time Det. Becker had heard about any kind of note.

“For the next several weeks, she just stayed on friends’ couches. She would stay in the woods from time to time,” Becker said.

While they talked, Hannah at times wiped away tears when talking about the note. “I said ‘Dad I love you and I’m sorry,’” Hannah said.

“It was shocking. I don’t think I really processed it until the next day,” Becker said.

Toward the end of the interview, another detective came into the room to ask a few questions of Hannah.

“What made you come in today?” She told them she had been ready to do this. Hannah wanted to stop hiding, get health insurance, and get a job. She said she was happy, and Det. Becker said she looked healthy.

“I got a boyfriend. He works hard. I stay home. He takes care of me and feeds me,” Hannah said.

After talking with Hannah, Det. Becker went back out to Franklin Township to give Belinda the good news.

“I got what I prayed for. I’ve been praying for over a year now. And, God answered my prayers,” Belinda said.

She feared that someday she would have to bury Hannah in the cemetery across the street from where she was raised. But this is an ending that no one saw coming.

Hannah told detectives the night before she went to the sheriff’s office, she found out she was a missing person on the national TV show “In Pursuit with John Walsh.”

Hannah does not want any communication with her family. Belinda told News Center 7 that she was grateful that Hannah’s boyfriend had been taking care of her.

Her boyfriend told investigators Hannah is pregnant with his child and that she lives in Preble County.

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