A 13-year-old South Hill girl missing over the weekend and presumed to be with a man she met on the Internet was found safe at the Tacoma Mall Tuesday night.
Faith Ashley Otero-Pagan called her aunt from the shopping center, and later told law enforcement that she left home after a fight with family members and had been staying with friends, Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
She was last seen inside her family’s apartment Friday night. Her mother reported her missing Saturday morning.
Deputies were investigating Tuesday night what happened.
A man – described by the girl’s relatives as an 18-year-old from California who befriended Faith on Facebook – was not at the mall, Troyer said. Faith told authorities he was one of the people she had been with, Troyer said.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department had listed her as an endangered runaway.
The family held a prayer vigil outside the sheriff’s substation in South Hill on Tuesday morning, in part to protest what they saw as a lack of effort by the agency tasked with finding the girl.
Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer insisted Tuesday the department had been investigating Faith’s whereabouts. A detective had been assigned to the case, posters of Faith had been sent to law enforcement officers, case information had been entered into the National Crime Information Center and investigators scoured Faith’s computer for clues, Troyer said.
The teen has run away in the past, investigators said.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653
Staff writer Alexis Krell contributed to this report.