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U.S. teen missing for nearly 4 years shows up safe at police station far from home

Arizona’s Alicia Navarro walked into a Montana police after vanishing at age 14
Police in Montana say Alicia Navarro is safe and happy after turning up 4 years and 1,600 kilometres from home. Commons Wikimedia

An Arizona teenager who disappeared nearly four years ago is safe after walking into a police station in Montana, authorities said.

Alicia Navarro, 18, of Glendale, showed up alone this week in a small town about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from the Canadian border and identified herself, police in Glendale, a Phoenix suburb, said Wednesday.

Her disappearance sparked a massive search that included the FBI. Santiago said over the years, police had received thousands of tips.

Her mother, Jessica Nunez, raised concerns that Navarro, who was diagnosed as high-functioning on the autism spectrum, may have been lured away by someone she met online.

The name of the town wasn’t immediately disclosed, but Montana is more than 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) from Arizona.

“She is by all accounts safe, she is by all accounts healthy, and she is by all accounts happy,” police spokesman Jose Santiago said at a news conference.

Investigators were trying to determine what happened to Navarro after her disappearance at age 14 on Sept. 15, 2019.

Police said Navarro told them that she hadn’t been harmed.

Police said she wasn’t being held and could come and go as she pleased. She does not face any criminal charges, they added.

“She is not in any kind of trouble,” Santiago said.

When she disappeared from her home, Navarro left a signed note that read: “I ran away. I will be back, I swear. I’m sorry.”

Lt. Scott Waite said that Navarro had an “emotionally overwhelming” reunion with her mother and was “very apologetic (as) to what she has put her mother through.”

Nunez confirmed that her daughter had been found but said she had no details.

“I want to give glory to God for answering prayers and for this miracle,” she said in a Facebook post.

“For everyone who has missing loved ones, I want you to use this case as an example,” she said. “Miracles do exist. Never lose hope and always fight.”

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