As of Saturday, 18-year-old McClain senior Madison Bell has been located, and she is safe, according to a press release from Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera.
A representative from the sheriff’s office told The Times-Gazette that Bell left willingly and does not wish to return home or disclose her location.
In a statement to WLWT, Bell’s family requested privacy.
“We ask that the public and media respect our privacy during this difficult time while we are emotionally raw,” they wrote. “We are just relieved to know Maddie is alive and not in physical danger. Thank you to every single person who looked for Maddie including Rescue 101 Search and Rescue, Texas Equusearch, the amazing members of our local community, and volunteers that came from other areas to search for our daughter. Thank you to everyone who donated on Maddie’s behalf to assure we had reward money to offer for her safe return. Thank you to the law enforcement agencies and members for their hard work over the past 6 days and for leaving no rock unturned. Thanks to friends and family who have supported us during the most difficult time of our lives. Every single effort to find Maddie has touched us and we appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts.”
Bell reportedly went missing on the morning of Sunday, May 17 after she left her home to go tanning.
“At approximately 10 a.m., [Bell] told her mom she was going tanning, left her residence to go to the Country Corner Market to go tanning, and never made it there,” Andrew Surritt III, the founder of South Salem-based Rescue 101 Search and Rescue, said in a previous interview. “After she was gone for about an hour, her mom tried to reach out to her and was unable to get a hold of her. When they found her car at the church without her in it, that’s when they contacted law enforcement.”
Bell’s car was found at the Good Shepherd Church, located near the corner of SR 28 and Centerfield Road, a few hundred feet from Country Corner Market. According to Bell’s mother, Melissa Montavon, her daughter’s keys were still in the ignition, the car was unlocked, and the windows were up. Bell’s phone, as well as the coins and paper money in the change compartment, were still in her car.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570