Missing NJ Teen Aviana Weaver Found Safe, Officials Say

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Senior Reporter
Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
September 23, 2019 Updated: September 23, 2019

A missing 17-year-old from New Jersey was found safe in Philadelphia, said the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, which added that she is being reunited with her family.

Weaver went missing after going over to a friend’s house on Sept. 12, reported 6ABC in Philadelphia. She disappeared from Mount Holly, New Jersey, but her phone was pinged 23 miles away in Philadelphia.

“Aviana Weaver has been found safe in Philadelphia by Philly PD. She is in the process of being reunited with her family. Out of respect for Aviana and her family, no further details will be released. Thanks to all who provided assistance,” the prosecutor’s office wrote on Twitter on Sept. 23.

Her mother told local news outlets that her photos appeared on sex-trafficking websites.

Angelica Scarlett, her mother, told radio station NJ 101.5 that investigators found “pornography pictures” of her daughter on the websites, noting that she looked “completely upset and unhappy.”

“The streets can’t have my daughter!” Scarlett also wrote Saturday morning on Facebook. “I will be there everyday on the street until she is home !!! I won’t stop – Share let’s get her !!! Someone knows something !! Speak she is a minor and in danger !!”

Scarlett said that she also got a text message from a number that wasn’t her daughter’s, saying Aviana would be home for school and that she loved her.

“She’s never done this before,” Scarlett told the radio station. “This is her senior year. She went to school for the first few days and then disappeared. She missed an eye doctor appointment. She doesn’t have any clothes. This is not like her. She hasn’t been known to be on any drugs. We don’t have family or friends in Philadelphia. It’s completely out of character and scary.”

The teen attends Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly, according to her mother.

Missing Children

There were 424,066 missing children reported in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center in 2018, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Under federal law, when a child is reported missing to law enforcement they must be entered into the database. In 2017, there were 464,324 entries.

“This number represents reports of missing children. That means if a child runs away multiple times in a year, each instance would be entered into NCIC separately and counted in the yearly total. Likewise, if an entry is withdrawn and amended or updated, that would also be reflected in the total,” the center notes on its website.

Epoch Times Photo
Reve Walsh and John Walsh speak during The National Center For Missing And Exploited Children, the Fraternal Order of the Police and the Justice Department’s 16th Annual Congressional Breakfast at The Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel in Washington on May 18, 2011. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

“Unfortunately, since many children are never reported missing, there is no reliable way to determine the total number of children who are actually missing in the U.S.,” NCMEC (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children) added.

In 2018, the center said it assisted officers and families in more than 25,000 missing children cases. Of those cases, 92 percent were endangered runaways, and 4 percent were family abductions.

The center said that it participates in the Amber Alert Program, which is a voluntary partnership between numerous entities, including broadcasters, transportation agencies, and law enforcement agencies. The Amber Alert Program issues urgent bulletins in the most serious child-abduction cases.

According to the NCMEC, to date, 941 children have been successfully recovered as a result of the Amber Alert Program.

The center notes that of the more than 23,500 runaways reported in 2018, about one in seven were likely victims of child sex trafficking.

Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Senior Reporter
Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.