A 12-year-old Florida girl stole her father’s car, picked up her friend, and the couple drove across state lines to allegedly meet a person they met online, but the girls turned themselves in after seeing their faces on TV, authorities said.
A missing child alert was issued for the 12- and 14-year-old girl Thursday morning after the girls were last seen in their hometown of Lake Butler, Florida, and are believed to be traveling on the I- 10 toward Louisiana. NBC News is not identifying the girls.
Deputy Capt. Lyn Williams of the Union County Sheriff’s Office said the department had information that the girls may have been traveling to «meet someone they met online.»
However, it is not clear who that person was or if he was an adult.
alerts they were issued with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children of Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana, with a focus on the areas around Baton Rouge, Williams said.
Officials said no adults were with them and no foul play was expected.
The girls were eventually seen on television in a Missing Children alert at a gas station in Alabama and turned themselves in to local authorities.
That same afternoon, the Union County Sheriff’s Office announced that the alert was lifted and the girls were safely located in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, about 400 miles from their hometown.
Multiple agencies were involved in the search for the girls, including the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Williams said there were some «suspicious circumstances» that raised «red flags» regarding the person online the girls may have been trying to meet and the matter was turned over to the FBI for investigation.