A Deerfield, Illinois, teenager, Caroline Stitcher, that has been missing since about 3:15 Friday afternoon (February 20) has returned home on her own. A source told MyFoxChicago.com that the girl returned home but without her shoes. No other details were known at the time this story was published.
The following is the story before the teenager reappeared at around 10:30 p.m. EST:
The 17-year-old was last seen leaving out the back exit door of Deerfield High School, where she is an honors student. It is believed she was simply following her normal routine of running a five-mile loop – Caroline Stitcher is on the track team — that brought her back to the school.
She never returned.
Area authorities appealed to the public for help Saturday. They asked for volunteers to search the area and around 2000 people arrived to help. Police and local volunteers spent most of Saturday scouring the area for the missing teen.
Caroline Stitcher’s father, Kurt, told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot, “She’s never done anything remotely like this. She wouldn’t even dream of breaking curfew. This not the way she is.”
Caroline Stitcher just turned 17, her birthday falling on February 4. She had been named captain to next year’s cross-country team. Her twin brother, Stephen, is also a distance runner. He said he was devastated by his sister’s disappearance.
Deerfield and Highland Park police had searched the area since Friday evening. Authorities cordoned off entrances to the Prairie Wolf Preserve, which led to running trails. They brought in police dogs and ATVs to aid in the search. A helicopter was to be used but weather would not permit it.
According to a police release, Caroline Stitcher was last seen wearing a red sweatshirt with the words “Deerfield Cross Country” written on it, red shorts, black jogging tights, and running shoes. This was of particular concern because of the weather in the area, which can see temperatures plummet this time of year.
The release also described the missing teen: 5′ 3″ tall and weighing 114 pounds. She has blonde hair and blue eyes.
There was no indication that there had been foul play, but Stitcher’s family said that her disappearance was completely out of character for her.
MyFoxChicago.com reported that as of 7:30 p.m. no clues had been found that would indicate the teen’s whereabouts or if there was any reason to believe that she had met with harm or injury.
Kurt Stitcher sent out an appeal to his daughter: “If there’s anyway Caroline can hear us, we want her to know how much we love her. How much we miss her and we want her back…we will never, ever stop looking for her.”