Moreland girl, 12, missing from Lexington home

November 21, 2004|EMILY BURTON

MORELAND - A 12-year-old Moreland girl has been missing from her Lexington residential care center for a week, and in desperation, her family is asking for the public's help in finding her.

Amanda Abshear was last seen at 8 p.m. Nov. 14 around Fourth Street in Lexington. Police confirmed that a missing person report has been filed, but Abshear is a suspected runaway, not an abductee, so an Amber Alert was never issued.

"I just need to know if she's alive," her mother, Teresa Pike, said Friday during an emotional call to The Advocate.

Pike said her daughter is only 12 but "looks 20." Amanda is 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds, with blue eyes and straight blond hair which she usually keeps in a hat or ponytail. She was last seen wearing a blue hooded shirt, maroon T-shirt, blue jeans and white tennis shoes. Amanda was seen with two 14-year old girls near the time of her disappearance, her mother said.


"She is not the type of child that would be gone this long and not have any contact with me. I know she wouldn't do that," Pike said. "I'm her mother, so I'm expecting the worst, but I'm thinking its more of an abduction thing than a runaway thing."

Amanda has difficulty in dealing with new situations and directions, her mother said, and may be lost.

"She could be trying to get back to me in Moreland, but I'm not sure she would be able to find her way."

Amanda was in the custody of the state at the Florence Crittenton Home. Children at the home are in state care after being removed from their homes due to neglect, abuse, uncontrollable behavior or various other reasons, said Executive Director Mary Venezie.

As a legal guardian of Amanda, the state prohibits Venezie from commenting directly on her case due to confidentiality laws. But in the last 28 years, the home has seen no abductions that she knows of, said Venezie. When a child is discovered missing, and that is not often, appropriate steps are immediately taken, she said.

"We already have a missing persons report made out, it's already in their file," said Venezie. "The faster you can get the word out, the better your chances are."

The home then calls police, social workers and parents, when appropriate. "Generally, my staff goes out and looks for them right away."

The Florence Crittenton Home is not a locked facility, nor can its staff forcibly to return a child to its premises, said Venezie. The police are therefore responsible for picking up and returning a child. But with an estimated 60 runaways reported to Lexington police each week, investigations can progress slowly, she said.

A week after her disappearance, friends and members of Amanda's family have begun their own efforts to locate her. "[Saturday] I'm planning on going door-to-door in Lexington with all the family and friends and people of the church," said Pike.

The family has also posted flyers and is asking for the community's help through "prayers or anything."

"We're just asking anybody that sees her to call us, we've got four numbers on the fliers," Pike said. "I just want to know that she's alive and OK."

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