The Lake City Police Department (LCPD) and Gainesville Police Department (GPD) worked to find two run-away teens from Oklahoma on Thursday.
The female cousins, 13-year-old Sagen and 15-year-old Persia, had stolen their grandmother’s car and left Oklahoma City on Oct. 28, according to an LCPD press release. The family notified law enforcement, and after a delay, officials listed the girls as missing on Oct. 30 and were able to ping the girls’ cell phone to see they were headed south.
The family contacted Florida Public Safety Communications Supervisor Jordan Little and LCPD for help on Wednesday. The release says the agency restarted a ping on the phone and issued a Be On the Look Out (BOLO) for the missing vehicle. A BOLO allows license plate readers attached to law enforcement vehicles to scan for the missing vehicle.
Little provided his cell phone number to the family and served as a go-between. The family contacted Little to give cell phone records showing the runaways had contacted Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). Little contacted FHP who advised the girls had called about car trouble but had never made a return call for help.
Another ping on the cell phone showed the teens were in Gainesville, and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office received a notification from the BOLO on Wednesday night.
On Thursday morning, a GPD vehicle scanned the license plate and sent an alert. Officers found both girls asleep in the car parked in a local neighborhood.
According to the release, the family came and picked up the girls. They stopped by Lake City on the way back to Oklahoma to meet and thank Little and the LCPD who had remained in communication with the family.
“We are proud to have such compassionate and dedicated members of the Lake City Police Department,” said LCPD Chief Gerald Butler in a press release. “These girls are fortunate to have caring and loving families who did all they could to locate their loved ones. They are equally as fortunate to have had PSCO Supervisor Little working their case.”