HIGHLAND COUNTY — UPDATE @ (May 23) 7:35 a.m.
The Highland County Sheriff’s Office says Madison Bell has been found safe.
A release was sent Saturday morning stating that the 18-year-old was found safe. The HCSO also confirmed that Madison left of her own free will and does not want to disclose her location. No arrests will be made in this case.
The family also released a statement saying “We ask that the public and media respect our privacy during this difficult time while we are emotionally raw. We are just relieved to know Maddie is alive and not in physical danger. Thank you to every single person who looked for Maddie including Rescue 101 Search and Rescue, Texas Equusearch, the amazing members of our local community, and volunteers that came from other areas to search for our daughter. Thank you to everyone who donated on Maddie’s behalf to assure we had reward money to offer for her safe return. Thank you to the law enforcement agencies and members for their hard work over the past 6 days, and for leaving no rock unturned. Thanks to friends and family who have supported us during the most difficult time of our lives. Every single effort to find Maddie has touched us and we appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts."
Southern Ohio Crime Stoppers are now offering a $15,000 reward for information about the whereabouts of missing Highland County 18-year-old Madison Bell.
Funds for the reward were raised though a donation from the community,the organization said in a Facebook post Friday.
Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera told News Center 7 Friday new leads are coming in about a man who deputies want to interview, however the leads have not produced the name of this person.
Thursday, investigators released a photo of a man and a white car that they believed was in the area Bell was last seen May 17. Barrera said there is no confirmation Bell was in the car, however both the white car, and her car, were at the church in the same parking lot.
The case is being investigated in two ways: First, that Bell was abducted. The second, she turned 18-years-old and decided to leave the area.
Barrera said if the second idea in the case is true, he hopes someone can let everyone know she is safe.
The picture released of the man Thursday was from inside a store, the Country Corner Market, Barrera said. The white car, what appears to be a Nissan four-door sedan with a California license plate, was last seen on state Route 28 after leaving the church.
Several agencies continue their investigation in the case including the FBI, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ross and Highland county sheriff’s offices, and the Greenfield police.
Anonymous tips can be reported to Southern Ohio Crime Stoppers by going to SouthernOhioCrimeStoppers on Facebook and clicking the “use app” button.
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