A 14-year-old girl who disappeared from her North Carolina home in September 2017, turned up alive and safe in Georgia on Feb. 14.
Nakia Williams disappeared from her home on Wiegon Lane in Charlotte, North Carolina, early in September.
At this time, no one is certain why or how she left, or how she ended up living in Lyons, Georgia, more than 250 miles away.
Georgia law enforcement officials spotted Williams in Emanuel County and learned that she was living in the town of Lyons, in neighboring Toombs County. Lyons is about 150 miles southeast of Atlanta and 250 miles southwest of Charlotte.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit was informed of the sighting on Tuesday, Feb. 13, WALB reported.
Missing Person: The Missing Persons Unit is requesting assistance with the missing person case of 14-year-old, Nakia Williams. Nakia was last seen in Emanuel County Georgia, and she may be staying in Toombs County Georgia. Call 911 if you know her whereabouts. pic.twitter.com/GBwGvlngM1
— CMPD News (@CMPD) February 13, 2018
Nakia’s cousin, Shrounda Alston, took the phone call informing the family that Nakia had been found.
“And I thought I heard something wrong, and I was like, ‘What did you say?’ And she repeated, ‘We found her,’” Alston, told Channel 9.
According to the Missing, Unidentified, and Victims website Nakia is autistic. Also according to that site, she might have been in the company of an adult male.
The family organized searches and distributed fliers, hoping to reach someone who knew of the missing girl’s whereabouts. Various missing-persons websites got involved. The family never gave up hope or stopped trying to find Nakia.
The family thought it had a lead in October 2017, when pictures showed up on social media which looked like Nakia and a much older man who lived just a few miles away.
That man, Jarrette Luckey of Gaston County, North Carolina, allowed police to search his residence and property. he told police—and news media—that he did not know Nakia, had never seen her, and didn’t know how her name came up.
“Police came out here and looked. They looked everywhere. I let them look in the house. I let them look in the yard. Just to let them know that she’s not [expletive] here,” Luckey told Channel 9.
That disappointment didn’t end the search.
“I had to keep the momentum going for her. I didn’t want her to be forgotten,” Alston said.
Nakia’s family was overjoyed that she had been found and finally back home “I was just able to wrap my arms around her, and just, we just cried for about five minutes,” Nakia’s mother, Cherise Williams-Stowe, told Channel 9.
“We were just so happy to see each other.”
“She said she learned a lot while she was out,” Williams-Stowe told Channel 9. “She learned it was hard trying to be out there on your own and everybody doesn’t love you.”