Police in Washington state say they have found a teen who mysteriously disappeared after leaving a cryptic message in her journal.
According to the Clark County Sheriff’s Department, 17-year-old Angelic Tracy "Anji" Dean was located around 4 p.m., Wednesday, at the Clackamas Town Center mall in Happy Valley, Oregon.
Authorities said the teen might have been lured away from her home for the purposes of exploitation.
"This is an active investigation that includes the crime of human trafficking," Sgt. Kevin Allais of the sheriff's office told KGW.com.
Dean, of Camas, a city roughly 25 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon, disappeared on June 23.
Following the teen's disappearance, her parents found a disturbing note in her journal that read, "If you're reading this, I'm either missing or dead."
A cryptic text message was also reportedly sent to Dean's boyfriend's cellphone from her number on the day she disappeared. The message read, in part: "They were going to kill you and my family."
KOIN News reported a neighbor told police they saw Dean exit a light blue Volvo in front of her house a few hours before she disappeared. The witness described the driver as a black man in his 20s or 30s. A connection to the teen's disappearance remains unclear, but police did say they want to interview the individual.
Dean's whereabouts remained a mystery until her discovery Wednesday afternoon.
Allais did not elaborate on the circumstances of Dean's recovery, citing the ongoing investigation. However, a woman, who only wanted to be identified as Jennifer, told KGW Wednesday that she had spent several days with Dean and was trying to help her.
The woman reportedly said Dean had asked to be called "Daisy" and said she "was in a bad situation and needed to get out," Jennifer said, according to KGW.
Dean's parents addressed the recovery of their daughter in statement posted to the "Help Find Anji" Facebook page. The message read, in part:
"We are thrilled to have our daughter back and so thankful she is safe. Many missing children are not so lucky ... Please keep all missing children in your prayers."
Anyone with information in the case is asked to contact the sheriff's office at (360) 397.2028.
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