It’s been more than two months since a Georgia 17-year-old vanished in the middle of the night from her grandfather’s home and her family is desperate to find her.
Julia Mann was last seen by her grandfather around 10 p.m. on Feb. 20 but by the next morning she had disappeared, leaving few clues to her current whereabouts.
“It’s been an absolute nightmare,” her mother Terrie Clark told NBCs' Dateline. “We love Julia and we just want to know that she’s OK. We’re so worried.”
Shortly after the teen disappeared, the Oconee County Sheriff’s office released a statement saying that “all indications are that (Julia) left on her own and on her own accord” but were asking for the public’s help to locate the missing teen.
“There’s no signs of struggle in the house,” Sheriff Scott Berry told Oxygen.com. “There’s no signs of forced entry into the house and there’s only one footprint leaving the house and that’s Julia’s, or we feel like it’s Julia’s.”
Berry said Julia’s computer and cell phone were also both missing from the house.
“Nothing in our investigation has turned up any reason to suspect foul play or that she was taken against her will,” he said.
However, as time goes by, the sheriff’s office is concerned that she may be in harm.
“We don’t know what’s happened to her and a 17-year-old with no money being gone this long, I mean there’s a lot of things that can happen and 999 of them are bad,” he said.
Berry declined to discuss details of what investigators were able to discover from her digital footprint, but said they have “reason to believe she no longer either uses or has access to those devices.”
Clark told Dateline it's possible her daughter willingly left the house, but doesn’t believe she would have purposefully stayed away for this long.
“She took so little with her,” she said. “And she would never stay away and not tell anyone. There’s no indication to me that she ran away.”
Clark also doesn’t believe that Mann would have left her 5-year-old sister Olivia behind.
“Julia is crazy about her little sister,” Clark told Dateline. “She would never leave her. It’s heartbreaking. Olivia keeps asking for her. And I don’t know what to say.”
Shortly before Mann disappeared, she had moved to Watkinsville to stay with her grandfather. Her mother and sister were planning to move to the home too, but wanted Julia to be able to start school at the beginning of the semester. Clark said she believed her daughter was doing “really well” at her new school and had already registered for classes for next year.
When she wasn’t at school, Mann liked to play the online role-playing game Wizard101. Clark is concerned she may have met someone online who lured the teen away from home.
“We just don’t know what to think,” she said.
Berry told Oxygen.com that he is asking Mann to call him to let him know that she is safe.
“I’ve got some questions for her. I can make sure she is who she says she is but I just need Julia to call and you know if she wants to be left alone, we’ll leave her alone, but if she’s in trouble or she needs anything all she has to do is call. We’ll go to her,” he said.
Berry said from “the moment” Julia was reported missing, authorities used a helicopter from the Georgia State Patrol to look for her and have conducted ground searches and K-9 searches in the weeks that have followed.
“We’ve been back with cadaver dogs. We got no hits on any of those kinds of things,” he said.
Clark said the family has been living out a nightmare since Mann disappeared in February and are hoping to find some answers.
“We’re terrified,” she told Dateline. “We just want to know if she’s safe. That’s all that matters. I’m never going to give up looking for her.”
Mann is described as being 5’3,” weighing approximately 100 pounds. She also has several ear piercings.
Anyone with information about the teen’s whereabouts is urged to contact authorities. A $20,000 reward is being offered in the case.
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