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2 teens missing nearly a year found alive, ‘family acquaintance’ charged

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VESTAL, N.Y. -- Two teens who went missing in upstate New York nearly a year ago were found Wednesday night, according to New York State Police.

ABC News reported that Ky-Lea Fortner and Shaeleen Fitch-Fortner first went missing on April 27, 2015.

At the time of their disappearance, the teens were living with their foster family in Binghamton, N.Y.


Credit: New York State Police

Wednesday night, police found the teens less than 10 miles west of their home. Amanda Hellman, 29, was charged Thursday with second-degree kidnapping in connection with their disappearance. Officials described Hellman as a family “acquaintance."

“The girls are healthy today,” Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell told the paper. “The allegation is they were kept in the defendant’s house without their consent.”

“During the course of the next 11 months, Hellman, who is not related to either child, conducted numerous acts to prevent law enforcement from returning the two children to their foster parents,” police said in the complaint, according to the paper.

Hellman is being held without bond at the Broome County Jail. She pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Authorities have not released any information on the motive behind the alleged abduction or any details on the girls’ captivity.

The girls are now in the custody of Child Protective Services.

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