An Ohio teenager missing since Sunday was found safe, telling authorities she vanished “to start a new life.”
Madison Bell, 18, of Greenfield, was last seen around 10:30 a.m. on May 17, when she told her mother she was heading to a tanning salon that had just reopened after coronavirus restrictions were lifted.
“She yelled, ‘I’m going to go tan. I’ll be right back,’ and I was like, ‘OK, be careful,’” said her mom, Melissa Bell.
But Madison never showed up at her tanning appointment. Her car was found in a church parking lot. The car was unlocked with her phone inside and the keys still in the ignition.
Her mom told authorities she did not believe her daughter left alone.
On Saturday, law enforcement officials tracked her down, but found no wrongdoing.
“Bell has been located safe and left on her own free will,” Sheriff Donnie Barrera said.
The graduating senior left home “to start a new life,” according to Barrera, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported reported. He said officers found her at a distant location.
Her family asked for privacy “during this difficult time while we are emotionally raw.”
“We are just relieved to know Maddie is alive and not in physical danger,” they added.
The family thanked local search-and-rescue teams as well as community volunteers from throughout the region who joined in a massive search for the missing teen.