Missing Ohio teen Madison Bell, 18, has been found safe after disappearing on Sunday, according to police.
Madison was reported missing around 11.20 am on Sunday May 17 after she left her home to visit a tanning salon a few hours before her high school graduation ceremony.
Her car was later found abandoned in a church parking lot, unlocked with her cell phone and keys still inside, sparking immediate suspicion of foul play.
However, the Highland County Sheriff’s Office now says that Madison has been in contact to confirm that she is safe and left of her own free will, but does not want her location disclosed. Police say no arrests will be made in the case.
Madison Bell is described as a white female, weighing 120lbs and standing at 5 feet 6 inches in height, with brown eyes and brown hair. She has grey contact lenses, a cross tattoo on her neck, and a ghost tattoo on her side
The teen’s disappearance generated tremendous community concern, and a $15,000 reward had been posted for information leading to her return.
Madison’s family released a statement saying: ‘We ask that the public and media respect our privacy during this difficult time while we are emotionally raw.’
‘We are just relieved to know Maddie is alive and not in physical danger.’
The family thanked all of the agencies that joined in the massive search for the teen, as well as the community for rallying around them during the trying ordeal.
‘Every single effort to find Maddie has touched us and we appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts,’ the statement added.
The mysterious case quickly attracted national attention, with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine pleading for the teen’s safe return, and the FBI joining the investigation.
The teen disappeared just two days after tanning businesses had reopened in Ohio following coronavirus lockdowns.
When Madison, known to her family and friends as ‘Maddie,’ did not return home from the tanning salon after about an hour, her mother started texting and calling her, but received no response.
Mother Melissa Bell insisted her daughter would never leave her family and friends, especially during graduation week.
‘She would always contact me even if she was going to be five minutes late,’ the distraught mother said after she disappeared.
Cody Mann, Madison’s boyfriend of five years, broke down in tears pleading for her safe return during an interview with
‘She’s the most loving girl I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean, I can’t even explain it… I just want her to come home,’ he said through sobs.
‘I’ll see you when you get back is the last thing I got to say’, he added.