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Raven Cassidy Furlong Missing: Colorado Teen Girl's Car Found In Southern California

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RAVEN CASSIDY FURLONG CALIFORNIA
Raven Cassidy Furlong, 17, has been missing since Feb. 5, 2013. | Facebook
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A missing Colorado teen's car was found in Venice, Calif. with some of her belongings and the belongings of others, according to an update posted to the Facebook page "Help Find Raven Cassidy Furlong."

Furlong's family received a parking ticket from Venice that led them to believe Raven, 17, was in the area.

The Los Angeles Police Department watched over the car until the missing teen's mother and stepfather arrived in Los Angeles over the weekend. Furlong's family waited over 12 hours by the car, but no one came to pick it up and the family says that they have no proof that anyone had been with the car since 6 p.m. on Friday.

"Inside the car items found of Raven's appeared as if she may be with the car, but the disturbing items belonging to others raised more issues and unanswered questions continue," the Facebook post reads.

Though police currently consider Furlong as a runaway, two anti-human trafficking groups have partnered together to help raise awareness on her and Kara Nichols, another missing teen's, behalf. The National Women's Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation (NWCAVE) and All We Want Is Love organization have been calling for a federal investigation, calling a modeling website "a common denominator" and "a red flag" in the disappearances.

Both Nichols and Furlong had modeling profiles with a networking website owned by Internet Brands called Model Mayhem.

In a statement emailed to The Huffington Post however, Internet Brands Public Relations Manager Joe Ewaskiw said police had not contacted them about any of the missing young women in Colorado.

Ewaskiw said:

Model Mayhem strongly believes that safety should be top of mind when doing anything online. Because there are scams on the Internet, Model Mayhem tries to educate users about scams and how to avoid them. The site offers detailed safety advice to help members understand what to look for when they are contacted by others. This can be found here: http://www.modelmayhem.com/po.php?thread_id=575330.

The site also has a feedback mechanism called "Contact a Moderator" (or "CAM") that allows any member to let site moderators know of any suspicious activity they encounter. Moderators view and respond to each and every inquiry. Members are also encouraged to share reports of suspicious activity with one another on the site's active discussion forum.

Furlong last contacted her stepmother earlier this month, but the brevity of her message alarmed Furlong's stepmom.

"Raven said she was safe, but that she was calling from someone else's phone and couldn't stay on the line and had to go," Lin Furlong told People Magazine. "I was relieved to hear her voice, but I'm terrified for her. She sounded scared and not like herself at all."

Missing 19-year-old Kara Nichols of Colorado Springs also had joined Model Mayhem and was last seen Oct. 9 before travelling to Denver for a modeling job.

"What causes us concern is that it is really uncharacteristic of her not to be in contact with her friends and family," Sgt. Joe Roybal told The Huffington Post in November.

"When you have a website that the Better Business Bureau rates with an 'F' in addition to numerous complaints, victims that lived to tell their stories and many missing women all with a profile on this same site, we believe a Federal Investigation is warranted," said Michelle A. Bart, President and Co-founder of NWCAVE said in a news release. "We took these cases because the families felt hopeless and needed help being heard, we are praying someone report tips that can lead police to their daughters."

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Bart said that her organization finds the website particularly troubling because many of the photos appear to be very suggestive.

"These are all girls that had the dream of becoming a model and for some reason they thought Model Mayhem was the place to go. Our position is that it's a glorified porn site."

A third missing young woman from Colorado, Kelsie Schelling, 22, has sometimes been referenced as an aspiring model who may have had a profile on a modeling website called ExpertTalent.com, but investigators are saying that they don't believe her disappearance is linked to the website and believe she may be in Pueblo.

For Jillian Mourning the founder of All We Want Is Love-- Liberation of Victims Everywhere, partnering with NWCAVE on this is more personal.

When she was 19, Mourning connected with someone on Model Mayhem's website who wanted to be her manager and ended up becoming a victim of sex trafficking.

"He came into my room with three guys, and they [all] proceeded to rape me," said Mourning. "They took pictures of it, and would even show me pictures of things that I was doing, and videotaped the whole thing."

Now 25, Mourning's website, All We Want Is Love, works to educate youth about human trafficking and provides funding for survivors of trafficking.

"As many as 2.8 million children run away each year in the United States. Within 48 hours of hitting the streets one-third of these children are lured or recruited into the underground world of prostitution and pornography," Mourning said.

What these families don't want is for these young women's disappearances to become cold cases, Bart says.

"All of these girls are someone's daughter, niece, sister, granddaughter and deserve to be looked for and their cases investigated no matter if they are a runaway or not. Most runaways in the 21st century are not running from anyone, they are running to someone. Being lured away, especially if underage, is a crime and we must intervene immediately once they go missing, waiting and constant delays result in cold cases and years of uncertainty, none of us want that."

But almost six months later, Kara Nichols' family still hasn't heard from Kara.

On March 8 a business owner reported a possible sighting of Nichols with an unknown man in Colorado Springs, but after authorities identified the young man, they found that the young woman he was with was in fact his girlfriend and the case remains active.

Anyone with any information about the disappearance of Raven Cassidy Furlong is being asked to call NWCAVE's Missing Persons' Division Director Shelley Shaffer at 360-852-8019 or email her at tips@nwcave.org
If anyone has any information about Kara Nichols, please call (719) 390-5555 or email information to findkaranichols@gmail.com.
For Kelsie Schelling, call Detective Neal Robertson of the Pueblo County Sheriffs at (719)-553-2470

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