Police release details of Battle Creek teen's disappearance
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. —
The missing Battle Creek teen, who sparked frantic searches and fears of sex trafficking, was found safe Thursday morning.
Lavonda Marriot Lockmiller, 15, was hiding out at a relative’s house, playing video games and watching movies for the last month while many were desperately trying to find the girl.
Battle Creek Police released the bizarre details of the girl’s disappearance Friday, after Marriott-Lockmiller was found safe and unharmed Thursday.
After the girl’s social media accounts went silent and her cell phone disconnected, investigators started to fear for the worst but now it seems Lavonda didn’t want to be found.
She told her mom Friday that she ran away and went into hiding in fear she was about to be moved to another foster home outside of Battle Creek.
“I know my daughter is safe now I'm so happy with joy in my heart but at the same time I feel so betrayed,” Misty Marriott said.
Newschannel 3 was with Lavonda’s mom when she learned where her daughter had been for the last four weeks and who she was with.
“I am so disappointed in my sister…why? That's cruel,” Marriot sobbed.
For 28 days, Marriott hung missing posters around Battle Creek and suffered the pain of not knowing where her daughter was, if she was in danger, or alive.
“The whole time she was family all along and we never knew it,” Marriot said.
Investigators say only the relative and her boyfriend who were housing the girl knew where Lavonda was. The relative who Lavonda was staying with is the same person who picked her up from her foster home, seen in a gray car on surveillance video, Aug. 16.
“I was worried to death where my child was,” Marriott said.
Watching movies and playing video games, investigators say the 15-year-old never left the home near Harris Street and Meacham Avenue in Battle Creek—until Thursday, after she tried to go to a friend’s house and was quickly picked up by police.
Happy lavender is safe and was found unharmed, police say it is disheartening that multiple agencies invested hundreds of hours in an extensive and avoidable search.
Lavonda is now at the Calhoun County Juvenile home on an outstanding writ that’s unrelated to her disappearance.
The investigation is still ongoing as police continue to review evidence, interview statements, and potential charges.
Harboring an underage runaway is a crime.