Authorities still looking for missing Mercer girl

December 28, 2003

HARRODSBURG - A search for a missing Mercer County teenager was still ongoing Saturday evening.

Police say Jessica Marie Phillips, 16, apparently left home early Friday morning, possibly to meet someone she'd conversed with in an Internet chat room.

Phillips lives with her parents, Glenn and Virginia Phillips, on McCouns Ferry Road. Mercer Sheriff's Deputy Chris Kehrt said her parents told him they had a nice Christmas with no indication anything was wrong.

Virginia Phillips told police she went to bed at midnight Thursday, and awoke Friday morning at 6:45 to discover her daughter was gone. She also realized the family's black, four-door, 2004 Ford Escape SUV was missing as well. the license number on the vehicle is 8479, and is a Kentucky firefighter plate.


The information has been placed in the License Information Network Kentucky, which gives law enforcement officials the authority to stop the vehicle if it is sighted. The information has also been placed in the National Crime Information Center database, which is accessed nationwide by police officers.

Kehrt said Jessica Phillips is an inexperienced driver and doesn't possess an operator's license.

An Amber Alert has not been issued, Kehrt said, because the case does not fit the criteria of an abduction.

"We have no reason at this time (Friday afternoon) to believe an abduction has occurred," he said. He added that Jessica Phillips had apparently made contact with friends since she left home.

Kehrt said the parents told him Jessica Phillips has visited Internet chat rooms and may have made an acquaintance there that could be connected to her disappearance.

Jessica Phillips left a note that gave law enforcement what Kehrt called valuable information, but the parents do not want the contents of the note released.

Kehrt interviewed the parents Friday morning. At her father's suggestion, police checked firefighter training centers in Anderson, Fayette and Jessamine counties for the vehicle, but it was not found in any of those places.

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