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Missing teen found in Long County

A teenager who was last seen leaving Bradwell Institute on May 20, 2019 has been found safe.

According to Hinesville Police Detective Tracy Howard, Maria Flores was found in a home in Long County earlier today.

Howard said that the home had been previously searched when Flores was first reported missing.

Upon finding Flores, who is now 18, detectives requested that she report to the Hinesville PD for an interview as to her whereabouts the past year. Flores complied with the officer’s request and went in for an interview.

Howard said since she went missing in May no one had heard from the teen and her social media accounts showed no activity as well as her bank accounts. Detectives from HPD had conducted searches of various areas using cadaver dogs in hopes of locating Flores. 

A candle light vigil was held for the missing teenager by her mother in October 2019.  

Flores’ mother Yemisi Smith flew in from Juneau Alaska to conduct the vigil looking for answers regarding her daughter’s disappearance.

“Thank you for coming. I appreciate the effort to look for Maria. It really means a lot that you care about her,” Smith said in October. “People just don’t disappear and I feel lost and I’m not really sure what to say. I just that we can somehow find her or at least know that she is all-right. That is all that matters. I don’t care about anything else.”

Smith described her daughter as sweet, mellow and with a dry sense of humor. She said her daughter wasn’t they type to just run away. Smith said she last spoke to her daughter in the spring. Smith said her daughter was staying with her ex-husband, in Hinesville, so she could be with her siblings.

Flores is a Tlingit tribal member originally from Juneau Alaska. According to city of Hinesville PR Manager Whitney Morris-Reed her family has been notified that she was found and is safe.

Howard said the case remains under investigation.

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