Authorities in Iowa said they have a possible lead in the search for four missing teens who disappeared after two of them met online playing on their Xbox systems.
UPDATE: According to the Benton County Sheriff's Office all four missing teens have been located in Woodford County, Illinois. They are safe. No further details are available at this time.
"There is a possible plate number for the vehicle [they are believed to be driving]," Benton County Sheriff Randall Forsyth told The Huffington Post. "We had a person see the vehicle matching the description with this plate on it in the town the kids came up missing from. [The witness] actually pulled right up behind them in front of an abandoned house and wrote down the plate number."
Skie Floyd, 15, and Jazlyn Visek, 15, were last seen Saturday afternoon in Shellsburg. They have not made contact with family members since 3 p.m. that day. The teens are believed to be with Corey Sunderman, 16, and his friend Austin Boggs, 13, who are runaways from the Atlantic area, the sheriff said.
According to Forsyth, his office is "fairly confident" the plate number is from a possible stolen plate now attached to the 1997 gold Jeep Cherokee the foursome is traveling in. He did, however, caution that he is not 100 percent certain since deputies have been unable to get in touch with the plates owner.
"[The license plate] is similar to or the same as 288-STX and that is an Iowa plate," the sheriff said.
Forsyth said the four teens are not believed to be in any danger, but authorities are concerned about their whereabouts. "We sure want them found safe. Hopefully, we'll come across them," he said.
Visek is believed to be Sunderman's girlfriend. Authorities do not yet know if there is a connection between Floyd and Boggs. The girls are sophomores at Vinton-Shellsburg High School.
The Huffington Post reached out to three of the missing teen's families, but none of them immediately responded to a request for comment.
Speaking with ABC News, Sunderman's mother, Crystal Marsh-Sunderman, said she believes her son met Visek through Xbox's online gaming system, then planned to run away with her and the other teens.
"I don't let him have a Facebook account because I don't want him meeting people online," Marsh-Sunderman said. "I didn't realize they could do so much on Xbox."
The two girls disappeared a few hours after Sunderman and Boggs disappeared early Saturday.
Marsh-Sunderman said the boys had a run-in with the law Friday night when they violated curfew. When police brought them back to her house, she said she had tried to keep them from going out again by hiding their shoes in her bedroom. The tactic, however, proved to be unsuccessful.
After taking two pair of boots from the garage, the teens allegedly stole Marsh-Sunderman's laptop, $400 from Sunderman's father, Tony Sunderman and a license-less Jeep Cherokee the elder Sunderman had acquired through his job at a metal recycling company.
The Cherokee was spotted Saturday morning in Benton County, where the missing teen girls live. Forsyth said there have been a few sporadic and unconfirmed sightings of the teens since then.
"We've had a couple reported possible sightings and we just got a call from a lady in Kansas City who said yesterday afternoon she saw four kids and thought the one for sure matched the description," the sheriff told HuffPost.
"Then we had [a possible sighting] here locally, northwest of us about 30 miles. [The witness] said they saw a vehicle matching that description with two boys in it. So they're kind of coming in from all over."
Students at the schools the teens attend have suggested the foursome might be traveling to Florida, but police said they could be anywhere.
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Speaking with KCRG News, Floyd's mother, Dusty Hiepler-Floyd, said her daughter is likely sticking by her friend's side.
"I know my daughter is scared right now," Hiepler-Floyd said. "I'm sure she wants to come home. I just want them to know they're not in trouble."
Forsyth said a call was placed recently from one of the boy's cell phones to a Pennsylvania number, but they have garnered little information from it.
"They did make contact out there with a girl and she apparently said she had been corresponding with the one kid but had no indication they may be coming out there," he said.
Marsh-Sunderman told ABC News that she is hopeful the kids will return home.
"The most important thing of all is that wherever our kids are, whatever they're doing, if any one of them decides they've had enough, that this isn't as exciting as they thought, that they want to come home, as their parents we will do anything to get them home," she said.
"We'll protect them as much as we can from any consequences," she said. "It's more important to get them home than worrying about what's going to happen next. That's the number one thing."
Skie Justice Floyd is described as a white female, 5 feet 1 inch, 115 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a black hoodie with white pinstripes, dark stone-washed jeans and black boots.
Jazlyn Jayne Visek is white, 5 feet 5 inches, 185 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. She was last seen wearing a gray zip-up sweatshirt with "arrow" written on it, blue skinny jeans and gray/green Nike shoes. The teen has two lip piercings.
Descriptions for Corey Lee Matthew Sunderman and Austin Michael Boggs have not yet been made available.
Anyone with information on the missing teens or the vehicle they are believed to be traveling in is asked to contact the Benton County Sheriff's Office at 319-472-2337.
A Facebook group, "Find Austin Boggs and Corey Sunderman," has also been created.
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