BOILING SPRING LAKES, N.C. — The 15-year-old North Carolina girl who went missing in 2011 has been found alive.
Rachel Natacha Owens, who disappeared in May 2011, was discovered in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, according to Star News Online.
“Sheriff John Ingram, along with investigators from the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, is delighted to announce that Rachel Natacha Owens has been located and is safe,” a news release from the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office said.
Owens, now 21, assumed a false identity and date of birth, the release also stated. Authorities say she left on her own will.
Video footage showed Owens getting into a car outside of South Brunswick High School on May 5, 2011.
Owens rode the bus to school and was seen on surveillance video getting into a small, dark-colored car with what appeared to be a South Carolina license plate before she disappeared.
Before her disappearance, Owens had run away and talked about wanting to go to Mexico.
As recently as 2014, the FBI received information that Owens may have been seen in Columbus, Ohio. Special agents said Owens is now 20 years old and may go by “Raquel” or “Rakel.”
“For all the agencies in Ohio to act as fast as they did and be in contact and cooperate with us, it was impressive on a case especially when some people assumed you are never going to find her because she is potentially deceased and you’re chasing a ghost,” said FBI Special Agent Rich Novelli. “Thankfully none of us gave up and I think we gave a great Christmas present to her family.”