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Search For Missing 12-Year-Old Arizona Girl Enters Second Week As Fears Mount
Relatives of missing teen Betty Sue Taylor say she left her mobile home park at around 11:00 a.m. on March 20 and hasn't been seen since.
Update: Betty Sue Taylor has been found safe in South Carolina, relatives and law enforcement officials confirmed to Oxygen.com.
Loved ones are desperate to find a 12-year-old child who disappeared from Arizona more than a week ago.
Betty Sue Taylor was last seen in Safford, Arizona, on March 20 at around 11:00 a.m. after telling her father, Justin Taylor, she was going for a walk, according to a statement from the Graham County Sheriff’s Office. He called authorities at 8:06 p.m. to report that his daughter hadn’t returned to their home at the Thunderbird Mobile Home Park.
Betty’s paternal aunt, Stephanie Buck-Witte, spoke with Oxygen.com about the anguish of not knowing where Betty is the search enters a second week.
“You never know pain, agony, hell, until a child disappears, just vanishes, and none knows what happened,” said Buck-Witte. “No one sees anything, and they become [a] ghost.”
Members of law enforcement have used search dogs, helicopters, and drones to aid in their search for the missing child, according to ABC News. The RV and mobile home park where Betty lives is situated just five miles south of Safford, in view of Mt. Graham and the Pinaleño Mountains of southeastern Arizona. There, searches continue by foot, ATV, and horseback through the desert terrain.
On Saturday, Bonnie Jones spoke with Phoenix’s ABC 15 News about her daughter, who reportedly left her father’s home with her backpack and a couple of bottles of water.
“I’m scared to death about what she’s going through,” said Jones. “I don’t know if she’s out there on her own. I don’t know if she has a safe place to be. I don’t know if she’s eating.”
Betty’s paternal uncle, Danny Taylor, who lives with Betty and her family, told Oxygen.com that Betty’s disappearance was out of character.
“We know nothing,” said Danny Taylor. “She went for a walk [that] Sunday, and we were all sitting there. It was a beautiful day outside, a sunny Sunday morning, and she said she was gonna go for a walk and never came home.”
The desert terrain where she was last seen is rocky and rattlesnakes inhabit the region.
“It’s a vast area. It’s not a safe area to walk,” Danny continued. “But we don’t feel that she’s here. We hope she’s still in Arizona, but honestly, we don’t know anything. That’s the hard part.”
He said the family was thankful to the community members who already came together to aid in the search for Betty and bring water to the volunteers trying to find her.
Betty’s mother told ABC 15 News that Betty had struggled in school since moving in with her father in Arizona last summer. She also claimed there were disagreements over whom Betty befriended on social media.
“She had promised over and over again that she would get rid of them, and I checked her most recent Facebook, and she has her friends hidden, except for the mutual friends,” said Jones.
Danny Taylor also told Oxygen.com that authorities were inspecting Betty’s tablet.
“We honestly think that she was possibly taken because she was talking to some people online, boys, that maybe were like, ‘Oh, we’re 15 years old or something,’ but [could be] some 40-year-old freak,” he said. “Once again, we don’t know anything.”
Danny became tearful when telling Oxygen.com that Betty had recently missed school and that going for a walk was the first sign that she was feeling better.
“She was happy when she left. She had a smile on her face,” said Danny. “The first day she felt better, she just wanted to go for a walk.”
“Betty, if you see this, we love you and we miss you,” said Buck-Witte. “We will never stop searching until we find you.”
Graham County authorities say Betty is 5’5” and approximately 135 lbs. She has shoulder-length hair with red highlights and was last seen wearing a black sweatshirt with white lettering on the front, a baseball hat with neon colors, blue jeans, and turquoise and pink Vans tennis shoes.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Graham County Sheriff’s Office at 928-428-3141 as the investigation into Betty Taylor’s whereabouts continues.