Missing Arkansas teenager found hours after $10,000 ransom demand

GARLAND COUNTY, Ark. (KARK) – The 17-year-old girl from Arkansas who was reported missing on Tuesday has been found safe, officials say – hours after a $10,000 ransom was demanded for her return.

Arkansas State Police say the girl disappeared after leaving her workplace in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on Monday night. Authorities said she and a co-worker were heading to their vehicles when they encountered an unknown white woman standing near a parked vehicle.

Investigators said the woman asked the girl if she could use her phone, saying she was lost and her parents lived in a condo in Hot Springs.

Authorities said the woman then told the victim she needed to use the GPS coordinates and asked the girl to move closer to the woman’s vehicle.

At this point, police say the victim’s friend said she went to pick up her own vehicle from a nearby parking lot. When the friend pulled out to pick up the victim, she was nowhere to be found.

According to authorities, the friend tried to call the victim without answering. She then called the victim’s mother to let her know.

Investigators said the victim’s mother called her daughter’s phone and first heard her daughter’s voice say, “It’s okay,” then a male voice demanded $10,000 for her return. The man said they would kill and cut up his daughter if they didn’t get the money, officials said.

Authorities said the phone then broke down and no contact was made afterward.

On Tuesday evening, Hot Springs police confirmed they had located people of interest and a vehicle they were looking for in connection with the case. Additional details are expected to be released Wednesday morning.

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