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Teen girl missing from Layton treatment center found safe

Posted at 9:06 AM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-10 11:05:31-04

LAYTON, Utah — A 16-year-old human trafficking survivor who ran away from a treatment facility in Layton has been found safe.

Layton Police announced Tuesday evening that the girl only identified as Natalee was found in Salt Lake thanks to a tip from someone who saw her. The department said she is safe and is being reunited with her family.

Family attorneys said Natalee had been missing from the Layton center since Aug. 4. She was sent there after completing a 90-day inpatient recovery treatment program elsewhere. She was expected to be in Layton for one year, but ended up staying only a few weeks.

Police said both before and after she was found that there was no information that indicated foul play.

Natalee made national headlines in April after she was lured out of the American Airlines Center in Texas while attending a Dallas Mavericks basketball game, attorneys said.

She was ultimately trafficked to Oklahoma City where she was forced into prostitution before being recovered by police on April 18.

"I mean, I can't imagine a worse situation that your daughter is being sold for sex against her will 200 miles from home," said family spokesperson Zeke Fortenberry.

Natelee's story was covered nationally as advocates and her family worked to locate her and raise awareness for human trafficking.

Natalee's parents had kept their daughter's recovery and identity private; however, they are now coming forward with her identity in hopes of locating her. They say Natalee "suffered a triggering event related to recent trauma" and fled.