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Police Say TV Star Drake Bell Has Been Found 'Safe' After Initial Missing Persons Report
The "Drake & Josh" actor pleaded guilty to charges of child endangerment in 2021 after a woman accused him of grooming her when she was a child. His probation in that case recently ended.
The Daytona Beach Police Department says that actor Drake Bell is "safe" after he was reported missing earlier Thursday.
"At this time we can confirm law enforcement officials are in contact and Mr. Bell is safe," Daytona Beach Police Department Public Information Officer Carrie McCallister told Oxygen.com on Thursday afternoon.
In a Facebook post, the department stated that officers were searching for Bell, whose "last known location is potentially the area of Mainland High School," where he was reportedly seen on Wednesday, around 9 p.m.
"He is considered missing and endangered," the department stated, adding in a comment that "this is a legitimate post from the Daytona Beach Police Department."
Bell is known for his role as Drake in the Nickelodeon TV show "Drake & Josh," in which he starred opposite Josh Peck and Miranda Cosgrove. After the show's conclusion in 2007, he appeared in minor roles and launched a music career, most recently performing under the stage name Drake Campana.
In 2021, he pleaded guilty to charges of endangering a child and disseminating harmful material to juveniles after a young woman accused him of grooming her when she was a teen. He was sentenced to two and a half years probation.
During the sentencing in July 2021, the woman said that she met Bell when she was 12, after which they maintained contact. She alleged that, when she was 15, his messages became "blatantly sexual" and they eventually engaged in sexual acts when she attended a Cleveland concert that same year. He was never indicted on sexual crimes.
Bell apologized in court and his lawyers said in a statement that the actor did not realize the victim was a minor. "Today’s plea and sentence reflect conduct for which Mr. Bell did accept responsibility," his lawyers Ian Friedman and Madelyn Grant said in a statement provided to Oxygen.com at the time. "The victim’s allegations that went beyond that which all parties agreed, not only lack supporting evidence but are contradicted by the facts learned through extensive investigation. As the court made clear, this plea was never about sexual misconduct or sexual relations with any person, let alone a minor. Sexual registration was not imposed as Mr. Bell did not plead guilty to any such offense. Drake and his family are relieved and grateful to have this matter behind them. He looks forward to, once again, performing for all of his supportive fans around the world.”
A month prior to his sentencing, Bell announced that he was married to longtime partner Janet Von Schmeling, though the couple split earlier this year, according to People. The couple welcomed a son together during their marriage.
Following his breakup, Bell reportedly entered outpatient treatment for substance abuse issues, with a source telling the outlet, "Drake needed to take time to get help and focus on his health."
His probation came to an end in March, according to court records reviewed by Oxygen.com.