ONLY ON 3: How missing GA teen was found in Gatlinburg, reunited - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

ONLY ON 3: How missing GA teen was found in Gatlinburg, reunited with family

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CATOOSA COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -

UPDATE:  Family members say 14-year-old Adriana Elmore developed an obsession with going to Gatlinburg to see the mountains. 

We're told it's a common trait for those who suffer from Asperger's Syndrome.

Adriana traveled more than 100 miles and was away from her family for nearly two days, before a photographer working at the Ober Gatlinburg Mall noticed her picture from social media.

"15 minutes later actually after I saw the posting was when she came through my line," Colby Byram said, "It was at a busy time, I was by myself."

It's Colby Byram's job to take a good picture. He photographs tourists visiting Gatlinburg every day.

When he noticed Adriana Elmore in his pictures he was concerned, but not sure if she was the girl police were looking for.

"She was very stand-off-ish, she looked like she didn't really want to speak to anybody, she actually had a hard time getting out a yes or a no," Byram said, "She sat down her back packs and paced back and forth as if she actually didn't want me to take her photo."

Adriana's picture and information was shared thousands of times on social media.

Byram says he started taking notice of missing children reports online after an Amber Alert went out last week for missing 2-year-old Brooklynne Enix.

Brooklynne was found safe.

And thanks to Byram's quick thinking, Adriana was found safe too.
 
"When they found that little girl actually that's when I started following the local news, WBIR in Knoxville, and that's where I saw the post," Byram said.

Byram says without knowing many of the details as to why Adriana was on the run, the most important thing he could do was to call police.

Adriana was eventually reunited with her family later that night.

"I have a niece in Louisville, KY and a nephew and I know if they had gotten away from my sister how tore up my family would be, and we would not take no for an answer, we would keep making sure that they were found," Byram said.

Debra Elmore, the mother of missing teen Adriana, shared a statement of thanks with Channel 3 following the two-day, two-state search for her daughter who was found in Gatlinburg Tuesday afternoon:

To every person who prayed, shared on FB, searched, made flyers, brought
food, wiped tears, and stood by our side, your contribution was much
appreciated. The quick and
far reaching  response from officers and
community alike was vital in the recovery of our daughter. We cannot fully
express our gratitude but want to convey she would absolutely not have been
recovered or so quickly without you. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank
you. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Thanks to Adriana Elmore’s picture being shared on social media thousands of times a man at the Gatlinburg Tramway Mall recognized her and alerted authorities.

The teen is safe after an intensive and lengthy search investigators went through over the last few days.

Every day Michael and Priscilla Goodwin sit at their pop up tent off of Interstate 75 selling sports merchandise. Tuesday they were busy selling Tennessee t-shirts and flags when a red truck pulled up and asked if they have seen 14-year-old Adriana Elmore. “They asked me if I would let people know she is missing and stuff and to call the law if I see her,” said Michael Goodwin.

From then on they were on the lookout, “I saw her over here at McDonalds and it looked like she was coming back from the truck stop back there and she went in and had backpack on her and a pink shirt. She went in and never came back out. I don't know where she went,” said Priscilla Goodwin.

The sheriff's department along with multiple agencies quickly arrived searching for the missing teen. “County cops came up here, 3 cars and somebody went inside and next thing I knew 2 county cops went that direction and the other went down 75 Southbound.”

The lead resulted in no Adriana in Cleveland. Law enforcement across the region were busy following up on all credible leads until the teen was eventually found safe. Although the Goodwins were not the heroes of this story they knew it was their duty to keep their eyes open. “I am going to do everything I can to help find this kid. I was a volunteer firefighter for five years and I have done a lot of searching myself for children and a lot of times you find things you do not want to find.”

Still no word yet on exactly how she got from the Ringgold area to over 100 miles away to Gatlinburg. The Gatlinburg Police Department said she appears in good health condition.


PREVIOUS  STORY: Missing Georgia teen, Adriana Elmore has been found in Gatlinburg, Catoosa County Sheriff's Office confirms.

According to Gatlinburg police, they received a call shortly after 3 P.M. Tuesday afternoon from an employee at the Gatlinburg Tramway Mall saying they believed they spotted the missing girl. Gatlinburg police officer, Cindy Meyers was dispatched and determined that it was Adriana Elmore, and brought her to Gatlinburg Police Department. Elmore's parents were contacted and are on their way to pick her up.

Adriana appears to be in good health, but officers could not find out how she made it all the way to Gatlinburg.

Tramway Mall is the shopping area where visitors can catch an aerial tram to Ober Gatlinburg.

The latest photo was provided by Colby Byram.


PREVIOUS STORY: Authorities in north Georgia all the way to Knoxville are now helping in the search for Adriana Elmore, 14.

Tips continue to pour in from the public as crews search for the teenager who walked away from her Catoosa County home early Monday morning.

Sheriff Gary Sisk tells Channel 3 detectives learned Elmore was spotted by surveillance cameras at Providence Ministries in Dalton hours after she was discovered missing.

It's unclear how the teen described as having an extreme form of Asperger's Syndrome traveled from her home to the Dalton area.

But then, Elmore was on the move again. This time hitching a ride from a stranger from Dalton to Cleveland telling the driver where she was headed.

"The juvenile made statements about wanting to go to the Knoxville area or the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area," Sisk said.

Elmore was dropped off at Exit 27 in Cleveland around noon Monday. Sisk says she was spotted again the area four hours later.

Family members say Elmore wanted to go the Gatlinburg area for Halloween and when that didn't happen, Sisk says may have triggered her obsession to travel there-- A trait that is common for those with Asperger's Syndrome.

"It's my understanding that a lot of times, once they get a particular plan and once they set it in motion, that's what they're going to do and in their mind, that's what they need to do," he added.

Sisk says Elmore may not be aware of the dangers that come along with her actions and is why multiple agencies are working hard to bring her home.

"Somebody might have bad intentions and if somebody does, then obviously you're vulnerable in that situation. So that's a concern and another reason why we've been out in force and trying to locate her and get her back where she belongs," Bruce Fraizer with Dalton Police Department said.

Sisk wants the public to know that Elmore may be telling those around her that she's older than she actually is and may be using a different name.

If you have any information or see someone fitting Elmore's description, call police.


PREVIOUS STORY: Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk tells Channel 3 the search for missing teen has now crossed into Tennessee.

Sisk says investigators spoke with a man who says Adriana Jordan Elmore, 14, hitched a ride from Dalton, GA to Cleveland, Tennessee Monday evening. She made statements to the driver that she is headed to the Knoxville or Gatlinburg area.

The driver told investigators he dropped Elmore off at Exit 27 in Cleveland.

Elmore is described having an extreme form of Asperger's Syndrome.

Sisk says the teen may be telling those around her she is older than she actually is.

Sisk says Elmore may be headed to the Gatlinburg area after wanting to go trick or treating in the area for Halloween.

If you have any information that may help police in their search, call local authorities.

For more information about Asperger's Syndrome click here.


PREVIOUS STORY: A new, recent surveillance photo of missing teen Adriana Jordan Elmore has been found. The photo shows the teen entering the door at Providence Ministries in Dalton sometime Monday.

Dalton Police Department is assisting in the search. There have also been two other, unconfirmed sighting that police are investigating.

It's unclear how Elmore got to Dalton.

The search for missing teen Adriana Jordan Elmore resumes at dawn Tuesday after being called off overnight.

A search party of volunteers, friends and family gathers down the street where Adriana Elmore lives. The 14-year-old suffering from extreme Asperger Syndrome recently had a conversation with her older sister about leaving the house to cross the mountain in the wooded area behind their home. "She has been asking her sister how do I get over the mountain for a couple days now, she didn't think anything about it,” said Susan Elmore, the grandmother of Adriana.

But missing for several hours isn't typical for Adriana. “"Sometimes she will wonder off, for like an hour or so and come back. Never like this-- never."

On this rainy Monday this search is extremely tough due to the teen’s condition. “With us searching and calling for her she might not come to us. She might be hiding from us. It does complicate things,” said Sheriff Gary Sisk.

The sheriff says Adriana carefully planned out her trip. “She did pack clothes, she did take clothes, and several of her clothes are gone. Shoes are gone, a backpack.

"Adriana if you are out there your community, friends, and family want you to come home. “I love you sweetheart, please come home,” said Grandma Elmore.


PREVIOUS STORY: The Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office is searching for missing teen Adriana Jordan Elmore.

Elmore is 14 years old and suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

She apparently disappeared between 11:00pm Sunday night to 6:00am Monday morning.

She told her siblings she wanted to “cross the mountain” and searchers believe she left on foot into a wooded area on the east side of Taylors Ridge and headed westward.

Elmore may be carrying a black North Face backpack.

Because of Elmore’s Asperger's Syndrome, she may not respond if spoken to.

If anyone has seen Adriana or has any information please contact Detective Tim Busby or Captain Chris Lyons with the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office at 706-935-2424 or contact 911.

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