Richmond Hill police reached out to the public Wednesday, May 7 to help them locate a missing 17-year-old girl. RHPD Det. Dana Strickland said the girl, Tabitha Ashley Dean, was found Thursday.
In an unrelated case, automated phone calls were placed throughout the city on Thursday, May 8 instructing residents to be on the lookout for missing Richmond Hill 12-year-old Tamara Owens.
Strickland said Owens was located within hours was simply "visiting a friend’s house without permission."
As for Dean, Strickland said she was charged with being a runaway, which he said usually results in probation after a mandatory court appearance.
He said multiple sources led him to a residence in Eastside Savannah. He approached her at a nearby store and convinced her to go home.
Strickland said Dean was reported missing after she told her roommate last Saturday that she was going to walk from the apartment complex to a friend’s house and had not been heard for five days, which escalated the search for her whereabouts.
As for the Owens case, GBI Agent John Barry said the alert was issued via the national "A Child is Missing Alert," in which thousands of calls are issued to those within the zip code of a child’s disappearance.
Although not relevant in the Owens case, Barry said there is another program used in the state through the GBI known as Levi’s Call. He said it is set into motion when there is a known abduction or foul play is involved in a missing child case.
Levi’s Call, named for Forsyth County abduction victim Levi Frady who was killed in 1997, is essentially Georgia’s version of the Amber Alert and is designed to get the word out to the public via radio and television within minutes of a confirmed abduction.
Last week, Gov. Sonny Perdue signed an executive order to form Georgia’s Child Abduction Response Team (CART) in conjunction with the GBI.
The order means that when a child abduction case is confirmed, state agencies such as GEMA, DNR and DOT work together to flood the area of the abduction.
"This executive order will ensure a quick, deliberate response for missing and endangered children," Perdue said in a press release. "The Child Abduction Response Team will guarantee the rapid collaboration of each agency and ensure disciplined recovery. The safety and security of all of our children remains a top priority for Georgia."