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Update: Missing Monroe girl, 16, found safe

National Center For Missing & Exploited Children
Lauren Heath.

Update: Late Wednesday, Monroe Police said in a statement that Lauren Heath was located after 12 days and is being reunited with her family. Police said no charges have been filed, and declined to give any further information Wednesday night. In a statement, Monroe Police Chief J. Bryan Gilliard thanked the public and investigators. More information is expected to be available Thursday.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the family of missing teenager Lauren Heath are asking the public for help to find her.

Heath, 16, was last seen on Oct. 13 leaving her home in Monroe at about 4 p.m. She is 5 feet tall, 100 pounds and was last seen wearing a gray sweatshirt, shorts and Converse sneakers. She often has her hair in a ponytail.

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According to her family, it was unusual that she would leave her home without notice. Lauren’s father, Derrick Heath, said this has been a tough time for their family.

"Our family is in shambles because she's a major part of who we are. Our hearts are broken, and we will never stop looking for her,” Heath said. “We just want her to come home."

The family is also worried that a person may have lured Lauren away from her home.

“We know that predators groom children in many different ways and if Lauren was somehow lured away, we need to do whatever we can to help get her back home,” Angeline Hartmann, director of communications for NCMEC, said in a statement.

If you’ve seen Lauren or have any information about where she is, contact the NCMEC at 1-800-843-5678 or the Monroe Police Department in North Carolina at 704-282-4700. Her family is offering an award for anyone who finds her.

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Kenny is a Maryland native who began his career in media as a sportswriter at Tuskegee University, covering SIAC sports working for the athletic department and as a sports correspondent for the Tuskegee Campus Digest. Following his time at Tuskegee, he was accepted to the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program as a Marketing Intern for The NASCAR Foundation in Daytona Beach, Florida in 2017.