Ava Reinhard, the 15-year-old Cherry Creek student who went missing almost three weeks ago, was found safe on Monday, May 5, in San Diego.
“She was discovered at 10:20 a.m., unharmed and OK,” says Joe Gutgsell, commander of investigations for the Greenwood Police Department. “That’s about the extent of it.”
Citing the family’s need for privacy, he declined further comment.
Ava was last seen April 23, when she ostensibly left home for school. The family reported her as a runaway to the Greenwood Village Police Dept. at 5:15 p.m.
On May 5, the family’s “Help Us Find Ava” Facebook page exclaims, “Ava has been found safe!!!”
Gratitude follows indescribable relief in the same breath.
Heartfelt thanks embrace family and friends assisting in the search, the Center for Search and Investigation (CFSI) in Colorado and Utah, Bikers Urban Response Needed (BURN) Utah, and law enforcement agencies.
The family also urges anyone motivated to help find missing children and combat human trafficking to sign up with CFSI.
According to “Help Us Find Ava,” the Reinhards are now with Ava in California and will bring her home at an undisclosed time.
“She is healthy and unharmed,” the Tuesday, May 6 post reads.
“We have a long journey ahead of us,” it continues. “Our re-entry will be slow and private. I know everyone is anxious to hear her story, however we need time to process everything and determine the next steps.
“We could not have done this without you, CFSI and the Greenwood Village police. Thank you and G-d bless everyone.”
Colorado CFSI’s Jacob Ames, the lead investigator on Ava’s case since the beginning, could not discuss specific information.
“She’s safe and sound, and was recovered by law enforcement in California. That’s the most I can say.
“But at CFSI, we live to hear ‘safe and sound.’”
Some leads that surfaced in Ava’s case “were of a grim nature,” Ames says. “Fortunately that was not part of her scenario.”
The non-profit CFSI, founded two years ago by Chuck Foreman in Texas, now exists in all 50 states as well as Canada, parts of Australia and India.
CFSI, with the assistance of law enforcement, has located nearly 350 “found safes” — the term for these lucky children and teens — since its inception, says Ames.
During Ava’s absence, the Denver Jewish community displayed her photo on websites and in print, including the IJN, the JCC, JEWISHcolorado and synagogues.
Denver’s TV stations and mainstream publications also kept the incident front and center.
Last Saturday, more than 200 people from various faith backgrounds met at Union Station to hang posters at locations frequented by teens throughout LoDo.
Jacob Ames is already looking for two other missing children in Colorado.
“The work never stops,” he says. “But neither do we.”
Copyright © 2014 by the Intermountain Jewish News