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Anderson teen missing since Dec. 9 found safe in California

NCMEC flier of Jayda Johnson
Posted at 8:29 PM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-27 18:40:29-05

UPDATE | The Anderson Police Department said Monday that 16-year-old Jayda Johnson has been found safe in California.

Caleb McKnight, a public information officer, said Jayda's mother received a TikTok message from her daughter saying she was in Santa Monica, California.

The Santa Monica Police Department was contacted and found her. McKnight said Jayda was turned over to the Department of Child Services and is awaiting her mother's arrival.

Santa Monica Police say Jayda was alone at a local market when she contacted management, who then called authorities. After being interviewed, Jayda was released to a social worker. Police tell WRTV they are very happy that she's been located.

In a Facebook post, Kristen Johnson said she will soon be reunited with her daughter and thanked everyone for everything they've done in the three weeks Jayda was missing.

The original story is below.

ANDERSON — Kristen Johnson is pleading for information that can bring her 16-year-old daughter Jayda Johnson home. According to authorities, Jayda has been missing since Dec. 9.

"Jayda is a loving and caring person. She's a great girl. The night she went to bed, even though she's 16, I kiss her before bed every night. She was fine," Johnson said.

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The last time the 16-year-old reached out to her family, she sent her brother a concerning message. In it, she apologized to him, explained why she was loving and sent her love to her family. This was sent in the early morning hours of Dec. 9.

Kristen believes Jayda left home around 12:30 or 1 a.m. because of this information from law enforcement.

"They pinged her phone that morning in St. Louis, Missouri at 5:37," Kristen said.

St. Louis is around 4.5 hours away from Anderson. Kristen says her daughter's phone was pinged a second time in the St. Louis area the morning of Dec. 9. It's been off ever since.

"She's her own person and I trusted her to make good decisions because she's never been in trouble or anything like that," Kristen said. "As a mother, I sit here and think. I pray she's okay. I pray she's not hurt."

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The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has shared information about Jayda, hoping anyone who may have seen her will call in with information that could lead to her being found.

On Dec. 22, Anderson police said they are continuing to work with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, National Child Protection Task Force and state fusion centers.

Kristen has gone through her daughter's cell phone log. She know the teenager called someone during the time she likely ran away. She wants whoever has her daughter to know this.

"I literally cannot function. So he might think this is fun and games, but he's hurting her family too. I just need whoever it is to bring her back. I'm not mad. I just want to know that she's okay. That's it," Johnson said. "I've talked to all her friends and they swear they don't know anything, but I feel like someone knows something [or] at least who's she with. What does he look like? What is his name? Where is he from? How'd they meet? I just want to know those questions and I feel like someone knows something."

Anderson Police say if anyone has information that could be helpful in helping bring Jayda Johnson back home, reach out to Sgt. William Ray at 765-648-6663.

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While Anderson Police are investigating, they tell us as of now, her disappearance does not qualify for an Amber or Silver Alert, but they want to assure the community they are taking this investigation seriously.

Indiana State Police have specific criteria for the Amber Alert.

  • There has to be a reasonable belief of an abduction.
  • There must be an immediate danger.
  • Police have to have a clear description of a victim.
  • The victim must be 17 or younger.

Below is the criteria for a Silver Alert to be issued.

  • The person must be a missing endangered adult, missing endangered child, high risk missing person or have a mental impairment validated through a credible medical authority.
  • There must be enough descriptive information to believe the Silver Alert broadcast will help.
  • A request must be recommended by the law enforcement agency.