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Missing 15-Year-Old Found Safe In California

The 15-year-old, missing since Monday, is on her way home to family today.

Victoria Yeutter, , was located Wednesday, thousands of miles from her Potomac home.

Family, friends and strangers were on the search for the missing girl, . Less than 24 hours after Victoria was reported missing, hundreds of Facebook posts, tweets, Tumblr posts and blogs from as far as Los Angles and Scotland, U.K., were calling for her safe return -- and they worked. Montgomery County Police confirmed Thursday that Yeutter was located and is in custody after bussing all the way from Maryland to California in less than 72 hours.

The hundreds of individuals who shared in the social media campaign to search for Victoria helped to find the missing girl, according to Yeutter family friend Fred Morris.

“Somebody on the bus thought it was suspicious that she was traveling so young,” Morris said. “She went on the page, recognized her and called the authorities.”

Morris’s daughter, Madeleine, and wife, Mary, had the idea of starting a Facebook page to look for Victoria after learning of her disappearance Monday. Madeleine, 14, a freshman at , has been Victoria's friend since the two were in grade school together, and was devastated to hear of her friend’s disappearance. Madeleine said she remembered other successful missing person social media campaigns and hoped the same might work for Victoria’s case.

“We just wanted to get the word out,” Madeleine said. “That’s the fastest way anyone would see her picture.”

By Tuesday, a day after Victoria’s disappearance, the Facebook page had been shared hundreds of times, with posts tumbling into Twitter, blogs and Tumblr.

As family and friends fretted back home, the international search for Victoria culminated with a woman sitting on the same bus traveling to Oklahoma. After chatting with Victoria, the woman became suspicious of the young girl traveling by herself, Fred Morris said. The woman later checked a website for missing children and alerted police after recognizing the girl’s photo.

Victoria was in the custody of law enforcement in California as of 5:07 p.m. (EST) Wednesday, according to Montgomery County Police spokesperson Rebecca Innocenti.

Victoria’s bus on Wednesday made a scheduled stop a few hours outside Long Beach, California, where a local cop, aware of reports of the missing teenager, spotted her, according to an Omaha World-Herald report.

As of Wednesday night, Victoria was waiting in Los Angeles for a family member to fly out and accompany her back to Maryland on Thursday. Victoria’s mother, Cristy Yeutter, and father, Clayton Yeutter, a former U.S. Agriculture Secretary, are waiting for Victoria’s return in Maryland.

"We're just sorry that we've put a lot of other good people through this ... but hopefully when she gets back we can get things back on track again," Clayton Yeutter told the Omaha World-Herald.

Meanwhile, those hundreds of individuals who shared in Victoria’s search online are celebrating her safe return to the family. A message to followers was posted on the Facebook page Wednesday night:

“Victoria has been found, she's safe and she's in custody. Her family is working to bring her home. Thanks to all of you, Victoria was recognized. The family is so very grateful for the outpouring of love and support you gave to Victoria and her family! Thank you thank you thank you! We will share more with you as soon as we know more details!”

 “We’re thrilled, thrilled,” Morris said. “Victoria didn’t even know about the [Facebook page]. Finally, something good came out of the Internet.”

smokey j May 16, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Just be glad it wasn't your child my son done the same thing almost and it had nothing to do with home life it was a school thing.....just because kids make mistakes doesn't mean its always the parents....PEER PRESURE for teens suck...its upsetting for people to blame her parents until they know the facts ...I placed rules my home and provide a very stable home for my children and my son still left because of PEER PRESURE.....
Renee Horn May 17, 2012 at 05:56 PM
I have to say that kids leave home for multiple reasons and its not always because of their homelife. As for the person that left the comment about every child 12 and over having a Facebook page that isn't true. My daughter is 12 and has asked for a Facebook page. My reply has been no and she abides by it. Placing our kids pictures online places them in danger from pedophiles and other sick people. My child will not have a Facebook page until I feel she has reached a maturity level where she comprehends and understands the dangers that go along with it.
Joe Thomas May 17, 2012 at 09:40 PM
You have no idea what you are talking about. You may think that your daughter doesn't have an account but that doesn't mean that she didn't create one when you weren't home or at a friends house. If you think that a sex offender patrols Facebook looking for pretty photos than you are totally naive. They can find as many kids as they want at the mall and at other places where kids gather.
Rachel June 05, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Absolutely agree. I am happy this child was found, but it takes a lot of privilege (both class and/or racial) to create this type of media attention.
Xochitl Johnson June 26, 2012 at 06:22 AM
Oh, I know why she ran; she's an acquaintance of my friend; she ran away because she had behavioral problems and her parents were going to send her to this boarding school for troubled kids: http://caloteens.com/ They told her; she freaked out, and ran. I don't blame them, but it's also hard to blame her. The people at this school are often seriously troubled and there have been problems with students sexually harassing and assaulting each other.

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