AVA Reinhard, 15, an attractive Cherry Creek High student, has been missing for a week. She was last seen at home on Wednesday, April 23, at 8:30 a.m., before she ostensibly left to go to school.
Ava did not take her phone with her, probably to avoid further contact.
Her family, who belongs to Temple Sinai, contacted the Greenwood Village Police Department at 5:15 p.m. April 23 and reported her as a runaway, says GV administrative coordinator Crystal Dean.
Compared to cases involving suspected foul play or a kidnapping, a girl who tells her friends that she’s running away might be treated with less urgency, Dean acknowledges.
Many Colorado runaways are unreported.
“At the Greenwood Village police department we do things differently,” Dean says. “We do everything we can to find these children.
“A young girl is not at home. That is dangerous. She is a child, and that’s why we’re doing everything we can to find this girl.
“If we knew where she was, we’d have her.”
Ava, a striking blonde, is 5’7” inches tall and weighs 135 lbs. According to information provided by some of her friends — Ava has 1,036 friends listed on her Facebook page — she may now have purple or blue hair.
On Monday, April 28, Temple Sinai sent out a blast email to all its members. “We are trying to help and support a family in our congregation who is desperate to find their daughter and sister Ava Reinhard,” it reads.
“Ava is a beautiful, 15-year-old girl, and her family is very worried about her safety and security. We want to do everything possible to make sure that she returns home safe and sound . . .
The public is urged to gather at Union Station on May 3 at 9 a.m. to distribute Ava’s posters in the downtown area.
THE communal effort to locate Ava Reinhard began Thursday, April 24, one day after Ava ran away, when the Reinhard family put up the “Help Us Find Ava” page on Facebook.
It provides a running account of individual and group efforts to locate her whereabouts, as well as prayers and concern.
“Please share this poster as much as you can,” reads an entry posted by the family.
“If you are in the metro area and are willing to go out and poster, or look for Ava . . . please message the page with your info for further instructions. We are imploring you, the public, to help us.”
One young man posted, “Since 9:30 p.m., last night till 4:00 today I have covered every street and alley between Platte River trail and Colfax and Park St. on foot. I put up many flyers and asked many people to watch out for Ava.”
That search came up empty.
On Saturday, April 26, the family posted the following:
“Dear Friends, thank you for searching. Here is what we learned. Ava went downtown and stayed until a group of people called the Travelers were ready to leave Denver. Ava was seen in Denver yesterday but not this morning.
“Many of us spoke with different homeless kids who say Ava was all ‘geared up’ meaning she was ready to go. We then were told that she hopped a train to Ft. Collins . . . We think she may have left town . . .”
Reports that Ava had been sighted hopping trains near the coal tracks near Linden and Jefferson on April 26 resulted in further investigations by friends and strangers.
From April 25 to 26, 11 trains were stopped in nearby areas and thoroughly searched.
One friend asks Ava not to be afraid to come home:
“We never knew each other Ava, but I go to Creek and you may have heard of me. I know what it’s like once you run away . . . If you’re scared now it’s OK to come back. Everyone is just worried about you, that’s all. Nobody is angry with you . . .”
A sizeable portion of these searchers are Jewish. Some Jews are thinking about coordinating a reward.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is also publicizing Ava’s poster. Media are publicizing the search as far away as Utah.
Authorities, who also list San Francisco, California and Albuquerque, New Mexico as potential destinations, say Ava might be accompanied by an adult male.
Ava loves music, especially heavy metal.
LAURA Saxton, the mother of missing Kelsie Schelling, who vanished on her way to Pueblo on Feb. 4, 2013, at age 22, expressed suggestions and empathy on “Help Us Find Ava.”
“Keep the media involved as long as you can,” she posts, “because their interest fade fasts . . . Our family never thought this could happen to us either. If you need anything from one mom to another, please let me know. Thoughts and prayers are with you.”
Followers of “Help Us Find Ava” — more than 3,758 at last count — continue pursuing any and all possible leads in Denver and the region, whether at Union Station, railroad crossings, homeless shelters or just talking to street kids.
This mass outpouring of help “shows that we are a caring community,” Greenwood Village’s Dean says.
GV Det. Steve Heil, who has been pursuing Ava’s trail since the beginning, is riding his patrol car when the IJN reaches him.
“I’m not sure Ava is still in Denver, but I’m out looking for her right now,” he says. “I don’t know where she is — but I’m not going to stop looking for her.”
Copyright © 2014 by the Intermountain Jewish News