MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A teenage girl was found late Tuesday after being missing for three days, but her relatives say not all is well.
They say she was violated during her time away.
The 15-year-old girl has autism and functions at the level of an 8-year-old. WREG obtained surveillance video showing her entering a Nutbush gas station, her last known whereabouts before going missing Saturday.
The staff at the gas station said the girl is a regular at the store. Family members said she has autism and lived just steps away with her grandmother, who is in a wheelchair.
Inside the store, she can be seen talking to a man in a green shirt. Police said he’s in his 40s. As she leaves, she walks up to his Dodge Charger, eventually getting in and leaving with him.
Unfortunately, family members said Wednesday that the man then took advantage of her. That’s why we’re not identifying her or the family members.
“It’s real messed up how he did it, but it’s a lot," a relative said. “She was with him the last three hours on Saturday, but she got away. She found a way to escape from him."
After she escaped, relatives said she somehow made it to South Memphis, where someone found her three days later.
“A nice family took her in," a relative said. "After seeing she was missing, they brought her back.”
Her family said they’re grateful for those who took care of the girl and called police.
“I would say thank you for bringing my baby back. God is going to bless you," a relative said.
But they’re also afraid. They said MPD arrested the man on outstanding warrants, but they still have these warnings.
“What is this world coming to?" a family member said. "All these pedophile men out here, and I feel like no girls are safe out here. Please keep a good eye on your kids because if you don’t, things like this happen, especially if you have a special needs child, things like this can happen."
They said they’re not sure if she fully understands what happened, but she is glad to be back with family now.
WREG contacted Memphis Police to try to confirm if they did arrest the man and to get more information about who he is, as well as what exactly happened while she was missing. We are still waiting to hear back.