Parents of Missing 14-Year-Old ‘Can’t Eat, Can’t Sleep’ as Search Continues

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
January 29, 2019US News
Parents of Missing 14-Year-Old ‘Can’t Eat, Can’t Sleep’ as Search Continues
Savannah Leigh Pruitt, 14, disappeared from her house in Madisonville, Tenn. on Jan. 13, 2019. (Monroe County Sheriff's Office)

The parents of a missing 14-year-old said that they’re struggling to eat or sleep as the search for the girl continues two weeks after she vanished.

Savannah Leigh Pruitt disappeared from her house in Madisonville, Tennessee, after she went to bed on Jan. 13.

When Savannah’s mother went to check on her daughter the next morning, she was gone.

“It’s like having your soul ripped out of your body,” Savannah’s father Randall Pruitt said at a press conference on Jan. 25, reported WATE. “You can’t think, you can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you can’t rest—life has just ceased for us since she left.”

Savannah’s parents described her as a “farm girl” who loves horses, her pet raccoon, and other animals on the family’s farm. She’s the oldest of four children.

“We’re very heartbroken,” Christina Pruitt said. “I miss her. I don’t understand…none of us understand.”

The parents said in a message to their daughter that they love her. “I love you, and come home,” they said, finishing each other’s sentences.

The family moved to Madisonville from Georgia in late December 2018.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office 发布于 2019年1月26日周六

Savannah’s cell phone was tracked to Corbin, Kentucky on Jan. 14, around two-and-a-half hours from her house.

Detectives said there are no leads pointing to Savannah planning to run away, or of suspects who may have abducted her.

“There has been nothing in any of that reporting that led us to believe that she intended to run away or was speaking with anybody that would try to abduct her,” Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jason Fillyaw said at the press conference, reported WVLT.

A day after the press conference, the sheriff’s office appealed to members of the public for information.

Sheriff’s Office Asks for Public Assistance: Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation…

Monroe County Sheriff's Office 发布于 2019年1月26日周六

“We are asking for public assistance in finding Savannah Leigh Pruitt,” Sheriff Tommy Jones said in a statement.

“If anyone has information as to the whereabouts of Miss Pruitt, please contact the Sheriff’s Office at 423-442-3911 (423-442-HELP) or the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.”

“We would like to ask the public’s help in any way,” Fillyaw added.

He said it’s not clear why Savannah would be in Kentucky and that her phone turned off after it pinged there.

The office is being assisted by the FBI and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Savannah is described as a white female standing at 5 feet 3 inches, weighing 110 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Missing Children

There were 464,324 missing children reported in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center in 2017, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Under federal law, when a child is reported missing to law enforcement they must be entered into the database. In 2016, there were 465,676 entries.

“This number represents reports of missing children. That means if a child runs away multiple times in a year, each instance would be entered into NCIC separately and counted in the yearly total. Likewise, if an entry is withdrawn and amended or updated, that would also be reflected in the total,” the center noted.

In 2017, the center said it assisted officers and families with the cases of more than 27,000 missing children. In those cases, 91 percent were endangered runaways, and 5 percent were family abductions.

About one in seven children reported missing to the center in 2017 were likely victims of child sex trafficking.

Nancy McBride, the executive director of Florida Outreach at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said that most of the runaways involve technology.

“(Technology) has great benefits and some potential risks,” McBride told USA Today in 2017. “It’s important to stay plugged into their lives.”

Tech is utilized by online predators, McBride said, who exploit gaps when the child’s relationship with their parents isn’t strong.

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